January 13, 2016

New incentives given for student success

By Daniel Arens

There is a lot of discussion about education in today’s world: how expensive it is, how important standards are, the need for our nation, our state, our school to be competitive in a globalized world. But regardless of what positions are taken, they can do little if students do not learn both the value of education itself and the value of being challenged by education.
Both the Hazen Middle School and Hazen High School are looking at ways to motivate many kids who are not prioritizing education. Specifically, a large number of students are skipping numerous days of classes, treating them like personal days. The school districts allow up to 10 days of absence from schools, but many students have started to see this as permission for personal days.
For junior high students, a proposal was discussed by Superintendent Ken Miller. Miller discussed using the drivers’ education program as an incentive for eighth graders to do well in school. Specifically, Miller proposed that, for the remaining semester of 2016, a student must pass all classes in order to be eligible to participate in the district’s driving education program.
Miller, along with Hazen High School Principal Monty Mayer, had previously worked in another district that had implemented this policy, and both said that the program had worked well at that school.
“Something that motivates kids a little more, especially related to driver’s ed -- that would spark their attention,” Miller said.
The specific proposal looks at a sort of “trial run” for spring semester 2016 (in other words, a student must not have any “Fs” on the final report card for this semester to be eligible for driver’s ed; “Fs” from the previous semester will not count against them). If the trial run shows results, the school board could consider adopting a long-term policy requiring the passage of every class for the entire year.
Miller noted that the proposal does not prevent students from taking driver’s education. Instead, students who do not pass every course will have to wait until the summer after their freshman year to take the course, rather than the summer before. Alternatively, students could receive their driver’s education elsewhere, although the family would likely have to pay a cost.


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