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LaPlace mother rewards students’ grades, behavior

By Susan Stewart / L’Observateur / January 30, 1998

What could be better to a fifth-grade student than getting a prize for goodbehavior and good grades?.

LaPlace mother Ann Harvey decided she would personally reward deserving students when she purchased a chest, filled it with goodies andcalled it Bobcat’s Gold Treasure Chest. The chest is open to all fifth-graders at East St. John Elementary School.Aside from that, Harvey rewards students who do well academically withtrophies.

“This is not for personal gain, but my main thrust is for parents to see that if they get involved and do a little for children it can go a longway,” Harvey said.

Bobcat’s Gold is an incentive program which encourages good behavior andconstant improvement in academics. Each week outstanding studentsselect a prize from the Bobcat’s Gold Treasure Chest, and at the end ofeach nine weeks students with the most improved grades are given atrophy.

“I thought about the types of gifts 10-year-olds would like and went outand purchased what I thought they would enjoy. And everyone likes gettinga trophy,” Harvey said.

The chest bubbles over with stuffed animals, Barbie doll accessories,bubble gum machines and numerous educational-type games that both boysand girls enjoy and benefit from.Principal Texx Galloway said he loves the program.

“We thank Mrs. Harvey for taking an interest. I wish more people would getinvolved with it. One thing schools need is parental involvement,” he said.

The first nine weeks Harvey gave away two trophies for the highestaverage girl and the highest average boy. The second nine weeks sheawards four trophies: the highest average girl, the highest average boy andthe most improved academic boy and girl. The program continues through the end of the school year, at which timeHarvey will award six trophies: the highest average boy and girl, mostimproved boy and girl and the overall highest average boy and girl for theyear.

“Everyone wants to be praised when they do well,” Harvey said.No student receives a trophy for behavior for the first nine weeks sincethere is not another semester to compare it to.

“This kind of stuff get kids fired up because lots of good motivationcomes with it,” Galloway said.Fifth grade math and science teacher Lugene Johnson said students earntickets daily based on their behavior in the classroom.

Every Friday the student with the most tickets picks a prize from theBobcat Gold treasure chest.”It’s helped me out a great deal because they see those prizes and realizethey have to be polite and listen if they want them,” Johnson said. Shiquita Dennis said she liked having best behavior and getting a prize forit.

Brandon Henderson also picked from the chest and selected a math andspelling video for good behavior.Raven Jackson selected from the chest because she was quiet in class.”I picked the Barbie Doll Dress Kit because I can dress my Barbie Dollsup,” she said.

Gabriela Alvarado was the most improved student the first and secondnine weeks and not only received prizes for good behavior but a bicyclebecause she had the most Bobcat’s Gold tickets for two semesterscombined.

Harvey instructs teachers to leave the trophies, which are bright, shinygold and blue, sitting out on a table. “That way they can see what they can work toward and look forward towinning it and taking it home,” she said, adding that the students name,grade and the reason they won are engraved on the trophy.

Harvey said many children today exhibit a deficit as far as good mannersand respect for authority are concerned, so this way they will be goodexamples to the students who are problems in the classroom.

She said she spends approximately $1,000 on gifts, continuallyreplenishing the chest throughout the year.Galloway said this is a wonderful gesture with tremendous results.

“With this opportunity the students get something immediate for goodgrades and good behavior,” Galloway said. “We wish we had another 40Mrs. Harveys; we’d be in good shape then.”

Photo: FIFTH-GRADER RAVEN JACKSON selects a Barbie Doll Dress-upkit from the Bobcat’s Gold Treasure Chest. The chest and prizes are compliments of LaPlace mother, Ann Harvey, who decided doing something good for the students would go a long way.P> Photo by Susan Stewart.

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