Arizona Department of Education

AIMS Intervention and Dropout Prevention Program TOOLKIT

Staff & Director Quotes

Theme - Student Motivation/Incentives
Examples Quoted from Site Staff & Directors

  1. What strategies do you use to motivate students to complete the program?
  2. Are there any additional successes or "best practices" not covered in this survey that you would like to share with other programs? If so, please explain.
  3. What are the most successful strategies you use to recruit and select students for your program and has this changed in the past year?
  4. How has your program been most successful in meeting individual student needs?

When asked, "What strategies do you use to motivate students to complete the program?"

Staff Quotes:

  • "At D-PASS, students review their high school grades and attendance daily online to ensure credit is not being lost. Our students also set goals when beginning the program to help focus their energy and time spent at our campus. Daily one-to-one discussions also occur between students, students and staff, and students and administrator, which stress life after D-PASS and graduation. Another way to motivate students is through our Wall of Course Completion, or Wall of Fame. As each student finishes a course, she or he creates a decorated sign for our classroom walls. Students still working on a course can see these signs and are even more inspired to finish when they see the finisher leave our campus for the last time." (2007-08 Douglas Unified District D-Pass: Drop-Out Prevention, AIMS & School Success)

  • "High Interest geared at each student personally. Mastery Level Learning which allows mistakes and builds on them. Self paced learning which allows students to gain confidence in their own abilities. Constant communication with the students concerning their goals and follow up with parents." (2007-08 Glendale Union High School District: Career Exploration)

  • "NAA uses a positive behavioral support system, which includes explicit instruction and Panther Pride awards for students who demonstrate the school values of Respect, Accountability, Understanding, Optimism, and Hard Work. These awards are worth $.50 credit at the snack bar, and when a student earns 25 awards, s/he also receives a $25 gift card. Teachers are also responsible for sending Panther Pride postcards to parents to communicate about student successes in the classroom, increase parental support for participation in the program, and increase a student's sense of self-efficacy. The staff meeting is also an opportunity to communicate student successes or struggles, so that each staff member can praise or support students as needed. NAA also identifies a student of the week, based upon attendance, improvement, and focus on goals. This student receives a $10 gift card for lunch out, a 5-point certificate to add 5-point to the test or assignment of his/her choosing, a certificate, and a press release." (2007-08 Northern Arizona Academy for Career Development, Inc.)

  • "Early relationship building a huge part of our motivation process. My students meet with me as early as 7th grade and we begin to discuss their goals and plans. I follow up with them regularly. The relationship is a powerful tool in their staying motivated. I also think it is important for students to believe they can have a better life. Reminding them of that goal and relating their education to that life is another strong motivational tool." (2006-07 NAU GEAR UP Program)

  • "Any student who successfully passes high school classes is given the opportunity to enroll in college classes at South Mountain Community College which are paid for by AAEC." (2006-07 Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center)

  • "For the MPS PAY program students receive monetary compensation as they would regular employment, plus monetary bonuses for exemplary performance in the program. In addition, students receive elective credit toward high school graduation for participation in the program. For those students who excel, they are offered participation as a mentor for the following year of the program." (2006-07 Mesa Unified School District, PAY Program)

  • "We offer gift certificates for each week of perfect attendance; certificates of achievement; incentives for meeting personal goals; year-end celebration trip to California. We also photograph each student in a cap and gown, frame the photo along with the year they will graduate and give it to them to remind them of what they are working to attain." (2006-07 Arizona Call-A-Teen, Youth Excel Program)

  • "Incentive program for good attendance, good grades. Students are rewarded with movie passes, gift certificates, pizza parties and certificates. Students can be given high school credit for the program. Credit can be awarded for study skills, AIMS math standards or reading techniques." (2006-07 Tempe Union High School District, Compadre Satellite Alternative School)

  • "We ask mentors and tutors to set goals with the students that are realistic and reachable. The coordinator contacts students on a regular basis to encourage them to participate in their classes and activities. Students who have consistently met with their mentors and tutors are given gift certificates to area stores, especially if they have shown improvement in their grades." (2006-07 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff, AIM HIGH Program)

  • "We offer options and flexibility: schedule changes, Alt Ed placement, opportunities to catch-up, counseling for grad completion, future options, possible change of schools (to a county Alternative School), support groups for pregnant and parenting students, substance abuse counseling. Many students are motivated by concern, consistency and tenacity on the part of the staff. Once they start feeling like they are digging themselves out of a hole and/or begin to trust those who are supporting them, they create their own drive and then they're off and running." (2006-07 Page Unified School District, Page High School Dropout Prevention Program)

  • "Having them look at the big picture. What do they want to accomplish in their life?" (2006-07 MIMR Program/ Sp. Education-Agua Fria High School)

  • "Reinforcing curriculum by having speakers come to class to validate that having goals, a career plan and projected vision is what it needs to be successful. Creating a class environment that allows students to be held accountable for their actions and also allowing students to be key players in developing what their program will look like from start to finish. This type of program allows students to buy into what is being taught and have some control on their desired expectations." (2006-07 Jobs for Arizona's Graduates)

  • "I believe some students need our presence all four years of High School. Some students need that sheltered safe zone they can participate in to help divert them from troubled home life or a myriad of difficulties internal as well as external. When a program offers structure, shelter, safety, and social interaction in a supervised manner many students begin to open up and discuss their difficulties. At that juncture, communication is enhanced and trust begins. Students are sensitive to peer opinion and truly want to succeed. Some have been bounced around the system and home so often they are discouraged. Self esteem revival and productivity are crucial in increasing motivation. Consistency is a motivator in regular attendance. A stable program must be there every day for that student. Providing nutrition, social interaction, academics, and tutoring across the board is a motive for repetitive attendance." (2006-07 Pinon Unified School District)

  • "I encourage them every day to succeed. I push them beyond their limitations and I challenge them to produce quality work. I assist them whenever they need help and I make sure that they are always aware that they are doing well. I reward students when they complete classes and have strong attendance by taking them on various field trips (i.e. Phoenix zoo, science center, camp, and ballets) and having guest speakers." (2006-07 YMCA, I-Learn Program)

Director Quotes:

  • "Motivation has been a challenging aspect of the program initially, but as students are beginning to experience success, they are finding more motivation within themselves, even to the point of asking their friends to come to the program, too. Program and school staff offer a lot of encouragement and monitoring, and when possible, parents help to motivate students to participate as well." (2007-08 Amphitheater Unified District: Project ETC (Empowering, Teaching and Connecting)

  • "The most successful strategy has been when a student actually begins to experience a degree of success with competent completion of his/her daily lessons and the eventual completion of credit for a course. We grant credit for a completed course as soon as all requirements are completed, not at defined semesters. Once a student is able to complete a course in a timely manner, s/he is encouraged to do more and more." (2007-08 Gila County Regional School District)

  • "Make school more relevant and engaging through interesting and dynamic curriculum, enhance the connection between school and work, create a climate that fosters academics, ensure that students have at least one strong relationship with an adult at the school and improve communication between parents and schools." (2007-08 Yavapai County High School JAG "Hang In There" Program)

  • "We use a lot of personalized support through the personal learning plan, the support group established for the student and through the weekly advisory meetings. We also have career days where local businesses and governmental agencies come and speak to the students one on one about the educational requirements needed if they are interested in obtaining a job in that particular field. If a student in the program is participating in CTE classes, they receive additional counseling from their teachers on the importance of their education, study skills and participation in the program interventions." (2006-07 Agua Fria Union High School District)

  • "Due to the fact that the Independent Learning Center is a very individualized program, students are always working on different courses and different numbers of credits. To motivate them all, the Teacher provides the students with detailed Progress Reports every 6 weeks, outlining the courses they are taking, the credits they have completed, the credits they need to complete, their current GPA, and any additional comments she feels are necessary. Many of the students bring these Progress Reports to class so that they are able to reference them when they have a question on how far they have to go to finish the program. When a student finishes a credit, the Teacher fills in one of his/her blank stars with a sticker. The students like to use this visual representation to track their progress in the ILC." (2006-07 Coconino Career Center, Independent Learning Center)

  • "Donation of computers, printers and other such items are given out to students who have achieved in areas of attendance, grades, community helping." (2006-07 Sierra Vista Unified School District)

  • "The availability of a caring competent adult to work with on solving any issue is the primary motivator of YEP. We also give out $5.00 gift certificates each week for those who have perfect attendance. At the end of each school year, those who have done what they committed to do, may go on a celebratory trip to the beach in California and then to Magic Mountain." (2006-07 Arizona Call-A-Teen, Youth Excel Project)

  • "Students in high school who complete their coursework, document service learning hours, and visit the Career Center and attend Arizona Workplace Skills workshops may receive a scholarship worth $150.00 for a summer school course or credit towards a community college course. Students who do not have regular attendance are contacted by the OnTrack coordinator and counselors to encourage them complete their work. Junior high students who show progress on their work receive an incentive. i.e. movie pass." (2006-07 Mesa Unified School District, OnTrack Program)

  • "Our fundamental premise is that children will live up to, or down to, the expectations that are held for them by others. As a result, KHS AIMS IDP students regularly and consistently hear that they will graduate from high school, that they are capable of succeeding in any endeavor they choose and they have AIMS IDP staff support to do so." (2006-07 Kingman Unified School District)

When asked, "Are there any additional successes or ‘best practices' not covered in this survey that you would like to share with other programs? If so, please explain."

Staff Quotes:

  • "Yes there is and that is GUHSD's commitment to at risk students. I have taught this program for 13 years and I am very proud of the strides we have made in encompassing this program onto every campus we have. I have been to many districts where a special school has been set aside for THOSE kids. I have met and worked with those students who will tell you their district and then not look you in the eye when they say the name of the school. They have been made to think less of themselves and it angers me. Our schools have kept them, welcome them on our campus, and are offering them a way back in or on to graduation. They are considered students on our campus and praised for their determination and work. After being in Alternative Education for 13 years I have to say that this is one of the most important facets to a successful program. Often I think people forget they are children, often ones who have suffered hellacious backgrounds but are still trying and succeeding." (2007-08 Glendale Union High School District: Career Exploration)

When asked, "What are the most successful strategies you use to recruit and select students for your program and has this changed in the past year?"

Director Quotes:

  • "This year we have been able to incorporate incentives into the programs. The students get a skill builder workshop once every month. These workshops are meant to help the students improve social skills, career skills, and personal reflective skills. The students enjoy being able to take this time away from their studies to engage in team activities. These workshops help motivate the students through a learning a desired skill for their success past high school. Also, student success has show to be a rippling effect for our center. The students become motivated to work towards their goal when seeing their peers challenging themselves to attain their high school diploma." (2008-09 Coconino County Career Center Independent Learning Center)

When asked, "How has your program been most successful in meeting individual student needs?"

Staff Quotes:

  • "Through a school-to-work perspective, students can attend the ILC and maintain regular employment. This strategy addresses both student education and financial needs." (2008-09 Coconino County Career Center Independent Learning Center)

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