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Motivating our students to learn and to participate can be very challenging especially in an elementary school. Here at Blackwater School, the Gila River Indian Community Council provides necessary funding to make the Student Store possible. Although when we first started the Store last year, it was primarily designed to boost our student attendance rate, however, after witnessing a very promising & positive results overall, School staff decided to add more components not only to enhance the attendance but also citizenship, Character building as well as being safe and responsible at the school.

From a research point of view, we learned that timely encouragement along with tangible reward system have a great potential of stimulating learning and motivating good behavior, all of our teachers use this student store to reward students. It also provides the students with a sense of accomplishment and a continuing stimulant to even perform better next time.

“We all operate under incentives. Let’s face it: the whole teacher pay debate assumes that teachers will gravitate to the school district that can offer the greatest reward. So, it only makes sense that students will respond to incentives as well. Students need to be motivated to succeed, though that motivation may differ among students.

Incentives do not need to be expensive, especially in the early grades. Stickers, trophies, or tokens that can be traded in for bigger prizes at the end of the year are often effective incentives at the elementary and middle school levels. However, rewards do need to be specific and immediate as they lose their power when delayed. Another interesting point noted in research is that loss is often a better motivator than gain, as students often do not value what they never had” {Source: Education Week}.

We are very thankful to the GRIC Community Council for making these funds available for our school to provide incentives to our students.