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Prize wheel helps keep students on track

Photo of boy spinning wheel with Mr. Carey watching

Assistant Principal Aaron Carey watches as Hunter Crim tries his hand at the Jarvis prize wheel. Students can opt to instead choose from a table of shirts, sweatshirts and gear recently donated by Mohawk Valley Apparel.

A little incentive is sometimes all it takes to bring out the best in students. For Jarvis Middle School students who follow school rules, do their homework, or go the extra distance to be helpful, etc., their teachers can give them a pass for the Spin to Win prize wheel.

Students take their passes to the middle school office where they spin the wheel earning anything from a high five or fist bump to a small treat.

“We try to positively reinforce good behavior and effort in all of our students. We find that the prize wheel can be that little extra that helps refocus a struggling student,” said Principal Melissa Hoskey.

“We use the wheel to not only reinforce the Jarvis Journey: Be Responsible, Respectful, and Safe, but also to help students to set small goals for themselves. For example, a student who struggles to complete their work may have a spin to win built into a behavior or academic improvement plan as opposed to a different sort of reward.”

School staff hand out Spin to Win passes at their discretion. Students also receive them for their birthdays. Mrs. Hoskey has personally given them out for everything from a student who helps another student pick up their dropped books to a student who begins making healthy decisions. The passes recognize students’ positive efforts.

Mrs. Hoskey said the Spin to Win wheel is just one of several ways, the school recognizes students’ positive efforts. Sometimes the reward is a simple “thank you” or a word of praise.

“We learn to do the right thing by having someone we trust and respect reward us for our healthy behavior. That might be receiving a paycheck for doing our jobs or just that thanks that lets us know our effort is appreciated. Over time, we do things for their intrinsic value—we do them because we know they are they the right thing to do. Sometimes those lessons begin at home; other times we need to teach them in school,” she said.

Mrs. Hoskey said a recent donation has upped the prize stakes.

“Mark Fresco of Mohawk Valley Apparel recently donated almost $1,000 of clothing and gear, much of it Central Valley goods. Students have the option of spinning the wheel or taking an item from the clothing table. We know the clothing will soon disappear, but we wanted to get it to our students as quickly as possible,” she said.