Pride program expands to high school
This semester, two Tonganoxie High School teachers started up a Renaissance Pride program.
The program, which encourages students to reach high academic standards and rewards them for doing so, is new to the high school.
But it's not new to the students, most of whom learned about Pride in junior high, under the direction of principal Steve Woolf.
Woolf, now the principal of Tonganoxie Middle School, was pleased to hear the program was taking off in the high school.
A firm believer that Pride programs make a positive difference in schools, Woolf said studies are supportive of the positive difference Pride programs make in student attitudes, academic performance and attendance.
Megan White, THS physics teacher, and Jessica Johnston, THS art teacher, sponsor the high school program.
While they work on the basics -- such as academics -- White said she and Johnston are having fun with the rewards as well.
Pride students are rewarded for having good grades, attending class and arriving on time. Though some awards are planned, such as a high school pep rally that rewarded students for good grades -- others are impromptu.
Several weeks ago, White said, she and Johnston went to all of the classes, checking for three things -- that students had their Renaissance cards with them, that everyone was in class that day and that no one had been tardy.
They entered 10 classroom before finding one that met the criteria. And of course that meant a prize, in this instance, doughnuts for everyone.
"It's starting to be like, you never know when these things will happen and you don't want to be that one person who was late," White said.
The premise, she said, is in part to encourage and give some recognition to students who may not be in athletic programs.
"We're trying to really emphasize academic achievement and improvement," White said. "And we also work on trying to improve attendance and the overall morale of the school."
There are four categories of Renaissance membership, based on these grade-point averages: 4.0, platinum card; 3.8 to 3.99 gold card; 3.5 to 3.79, red card; and 3.0 to 3.49 or an improvement of .5 from the previous semester, white card.
At the Renaissance pep rallies, students receive bags of prizes, based on their card level.
White said she was pleased with the first pep rally. She noted the high school has an enrollment of about 580 students and a good number of those are in the Renaissance program.
"We have 379 Renaissance members in ninth-grade through twelfth-grade," White said. "So it's an incredible amount."