Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, Guest Columnist
The Picayune Item
Growing up in the Picayune School System in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a policy that worked something like this: If you had a B average in a class, the student could have a single absence and gain an exemption from the final exam. An A average allowed the student to have two absences and still be exempt. For me, that was a great motivating factor. Most importantly, it drove me to not miss a day of school, as I am a firm believer that 99% of success in life derives from simply being there, and on time.
A second important factor to the this reward system, of course, was making the grade. Doing homework, class projects and performing well on tests, along with good attendance, allowed an exemption from the dreaded final exam. It worked really well for me and many of my friends; very motivating. A reward for meeting predefined expectations.
I have heard that the Picayune School System might be adopting the Jostens Renaissance methods as a means to propel the school to a higher performance level. Not knowing much about Jostens and being an inquisitive person, I did what anyone would do in this modern age, I Googled it. From my investigation, it appears that Jostens Renaissance takes on a wide array of techniques to improve student performance, teacher motivation and community spirit towards their school system. Schools choose their methods, chart their course and begin to change the existing culture. Of course, changing the culture is the tough part. Successful schools set the expectation level for students high; that is just the way it is, everyone expects to do well.
I feel confident the Picayune team will do great in reaching their performance goals. Having been a part of the Picayune School System and the surrounding community for most of my years, I know there is a long history of outstanding academic performance and great school spirit. Heck, maybe kids with better than average attendance and grades can be exempt from final exams; if not, maybe some type of reward is in order.