The teachers at Heritage High School creatively motivate their students with a class economy system that takes positive reinforcement to a new level.
Students in the Heritage Functional Academics (FA) class earn Superbucks when teachers observe a targeted behavior such as completing work or helping others.
Students in the FA classroom have access to individually paced curriculum and goals that are developed for each student, focusing on reading, writing and math with a strong emphasis on pre-vocational skills. The instructional setting primarily serves students with cognitive impairments who access the general education curriculum through prerequisite skills.
The Superbucks economy system is online through Bankeroo and each child has their own debit card where they earn and spend their bucks. Student purchase options are based on their individual motivators and can vary from brain break time on the iPad to music or drawing time.
“The economy system allows the students to practice the important skill of weighing their needs and wants,” said Kathryn Young, Heritage High School Functional Academics teacher. “They practice money management in determining which choice they are able to afford.”
However, the most coveted and memorable award at Heritage High School is called The Ride.
With the support of School Resource Officer Jeremy Petty, students have an opportunity to wear a police jacket, try on S.W.A.T gear, “arrest” a teacher of their choice, ride in the squad car with lights and sirens and get their pictures taken.
“My favorite part is when they walk through a human tunnel of students who cheer, celebrate and high-five them as they walk out to the squad car,” Heritage Principal Mark Mimms said. “The Ride is the most expensive Superbucks reward at 2,000 points and it takes a lot of effort to earn.”
Allison Hocker and Maya Romney recently earned the opportunity to ride in the car and excitedly put on their jackets and police badge.
Allison adjusted the bow in her hair and proudly walked down the hall with Maya high-fiving the cheering Heritage students and staff lining the hallways.
Once outside, the ladies buckled in and took turns turning on the sirens and using the PA system to address passersby. They smiled, waved and laughed soaking in every minute.
Maya, typically a quiet student, gripped the PA handset tightly and hesitated a brief moment before giggling to herself and then talking nonstop through the system projecting her voice loud and clear.
“This is wonderful. We have never heard her talk so much,” said Young smiling to herself.
Schools around the District have their own versions of Superbucks with a reward system that works with each child’s individual goals and motivations.
“On our campus, students have an opportunity to earn time sitting on the bouncy ball or having lunch with the principal,” said Stephanie Spaits, Vaughn Elementary resource teacher. “It is all about what is highly motivating for students.”
Positive behavior supports foster appropriate independent and group behavior skills. Token economies truly embody the District’s mission of knowing a child’s name and need.
To learn more about Frisco ISDs special education instructional programming, click here.