Students earn trip to visit Rifle Falls
The program, which Hanna researched online and adapted from similar structures at other schools, rewards students who excel in homework, classwork, participation and behavior. Each week, students with high marks put up and take down the flag, pick up the playground, take messages to the office and read to the kindergarten classes, among other duties.
“I put this together to give the students something to look forward to in fifth grade,” said Hanna, who ran the program with fellow fifth-grade teacher Barbara Combes. “It is also putting them above the other students in the school and making them role models. All of this will help them later in life.”
At the end of each semester, students who have made patrol the majority of weeks in the semester earn a reward day sponsored by an EnCana mini-grant. In December, 10 students earned the accelerated reward and spent a day scaling Colorado Northwestern Community College’s climbing wall, making pizzas at Giovanni’s Italian Grill and enjoying an afternoon at the recreation center.
This spring, the number of students earning the trip went up by more than 50 percent, a jump Combes said is worth noting.
“We went from 10 to 16 students being able to attend the patrol trip,” Combes said. “I think this in itself says that (the program) was motivating. Also, they were not all high-achieving students, but they proved they could be responsible students. We were happy to see those students find that success.”
Success came partly from Combes and Hanna meeting with students who were close to making the patrol trip requirements several weeks before the end of the semester. Together, teachers and students strategized how kids would meet their goals and earn the trip.
“Our first patrol trip was a huge success and the kids had a great time,” Hanna said. “I think this helped some try harder for the second semester.”
Students who earned the spring trip ate lunch at Rifle Falls, hiked around the area and posed for a few photos. Then they hiked up to the fish hatchery, where they saw newly-hatched fish, fed hungry trout and learned more about the work done by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to manage fish populations.
Hanna said she hopes this is the beginning of a years-long challenge for students to demonstrate excellence to younger kids who are already looking up to them.