Recently, NPR shared a story about a middle school principal in Far Rockaway Queens that is making a difference. He came there as principal there last year when the school had an “F” rating, as in it was failing. Badly. No one wanted to go to school: 50- 60 students were absent every day, 22 teachers had quit, the entire front office left, and hundreds of children had been suspended. Hundreds.
Photo by David Kestenbaum/NPR
The Principal, Mr. Shawn Rux, started an incentive system. Come to school and you get tickets. The tickets add up to win prizes. He started a currency system called “Rux Bux” with which students could win things like school supplies, special lunches, an XBox, even a personal shopping spree with Mr. Rux.
It’s working: attendance is up — over 90% — and the school has climbed from an “F” to a “C” already — even though they were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy: some of the children’s homes were destroyed. Mr. Rux was personally effected — his car was ruined, the first floor of his home flooded.
Doodlebugheart (the company I co-created with Deborah Veley) wanted to help, so we sent a little care package: 10 Basic ‘Bug Craft Boxes. I am so inspired by Mr. Rux and the positive, constructive effect he is having on those children’s lives, on the entire community — especially in this time when lockdowns, firearms, and violence are so tragically prevalent in our schools. I’m wondering what we can do as a community. If more of us could send encouragement and support to Mr. Rux, the staff, and students, what would it look like? What would you send?
c/o Principal Shawn Rux
1045 Nameoke Street
Far Rockaway, NY 11691
(in case you’re wondering…)
You can hear David Kestenbaum’s full story by going to http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/12/14/167194092/how-a-middle-school-principal-convinced-students-to-come-to-school and click on “Listen to the Story”.