CEDAR CREEK, Texas (KXAN) — A local middle school in the Bastrop Independent School District says it is seeing quite the change when it comes to student behavior.
Cedar Creek Middle School is using a combination of new technology and some big prizes to reward the good instead of focusing on the bad.
Teachers and administrators are all armed with an app on their smartphones that can scan the bar codes on student identification cards.
When they see a student doing something right, or going above and beyond they can scan their card and add what’s called “Hero” points to their account.
“We were spending 80 percent of our time dealing with the 20 percent of the kids that exhibit the negative behavior so we wanted to change that,” said principal Edgar Rincon.
Eighth grader Michael Edwards is up to about 10 points since the school year started two weeks ago.
“Today I got one for being respectful — being quiet at lunch,” said Edwards.
When he and his classmates first heard about the program they were skeptical it would actually work, but they are noticing a difference, too.
“Last year you would see kids acting out,” said Jazmin Martinez. “But after Hero, after it was introduced kids were like, ‘Oh, I want to get points.'”
Students turn in the points for prizes at the Hero school store. It’s a classroom with tables full of school supplies, spirit t-shirts and bags. The more students earn, the bigger the prize.
For example, 250 points can buy a pizza party with friends, lunch with the principal or a hallway DJ — even a Kindle Fire is up for grabs.
“I think by providing these positive incentives it encourages them to do the right thing,” said Rincon.
Teachers say in addition to seeing a difference they are feeling it, too.
“It’s easy for teachers to dwell on the things that went bad that day, but when we have to shift our focus to be on the positive it helps the teacher, too, we feel better,” said Robotics teacher Karessa Parish.
The student behavior management program is called Hero.
Bastrop Middle School also started implementing it this year. It is costing the district $6,500 a year for each campus.