Thomas County Central High School has introduced an incentive-based program to reward students who consistently perform well academically and behaviorally.
The idea originates from the TCCHS School Improvement Team, which includes administrators and teachers like Leigh Barwick. In her earlier years with TCCHS, Barwick recalls students who met specific academic criteria could earn a “Renaissance” card that awarded them special privileges. At last school year’s post-planning, team members were asked to offer school improvement recommendations. Barwick mentioned an Academic Rewards card.
“We have a number of students who come to school every day, do what’s expected and never receive any recognition,” she said. “They ‘fly under the radar.’ These kids help make TCCHS great, and recognizing them for that is important. Justin Quigg, Stacey Mitchell, Amy Smith and I determined the criteria that students must meet to receive the card. We also worked with local businesses to provide lots of great rewards.”
Cardholders must meet the following criteria: no more than three absences in one nine weeks; no office referrals; no failing class averages; and an 85 or higher cumulative grade point average.
Rewards on their card include: one free Chick-fil-A sandwich or nuggets; one free game of bowling at Pinstrikes; one free medium drink from Ellianos; one free 20-ounce drink from Barberitos; one free hot dog from Dog World; admission to one fall school sports event (football, softball or volleyball); one free bag of chips from the TCCHS school store; and the daily ability to leave for lunch two minutes early.
This round of cards is in recognition of the fourth nine weeks of the previous school year. Approximately 250 returning students earned one. Students received their cards Thursday.
“I am excited to get me a hot dog from Dog World,” junior Nicholas Graham said. “I love food, and I love free food even more.”
Senior Mackenzie Gilbreath is thankful for the recognition…and its perks.
“I plan to use it soon,” she said of her card. “I definitely plan to keep up the hard work to earn one again. Perhaps I am most looking forward to getting to leave two minutes early for lunch and the free hot dog.”
Principal Trista Jones is excited to bring this past reward into the current academic environment.
"Our improvement team put in the work to make this happen," she said. "I've heard teachers say their students have been thrilled to receive their card."
Every nine weeks is a chance to earn an Academic Rewards card.
“Our hope is that students will be inspired and work hard to receive the card,” Barwick said.