emily cline art

gettin' my ya-ya's out

I’m inspired by Construction, not Destruction

2
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.
MS 53 Principal Shawn Rux
 

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?
 
MS 53
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”.
 
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