February Monthly Spotlight: Germantown Middle School!

We would like to thank Ms. Tawana Smith at Germantown Middle School & Ms. Charity Daniel with the Shelby County district team for sharing this story with us. Despite challenges presented by COVID-19, Germantown's team is still recognizing students for positive behavior in meaningful ways AND engaging student voice in their RTI²-B Framework. Read her story below!

This year has been a whirlwind to say the least, but one thing about Germantown Middle School is that we always find optimism in opportunities. In years past, our RTI²-B program has been one that faculty and staff, students, and parents would rave about. Teachers, as well as parents, loved the idea of students earning “bucks” to purchase real items from our G-Town School Store. Germantown has been extremely blessed to receive donations from vendors such as Walmart and Dollar Days, as well as faculty and staff. Items ranged from chips, candy, school supplies, hat and gloves sets, wallets to Bath & Body Works products, video games, gift cards, and AirPods. It was always a competition for students to see who earned the most bucks to purchase those higher-priced items. Since the start of COVID-19, it was difficult for us to man the school store. In trying to follow and adhere to the CDC’s guidelines, it was impossible for us to run an effective store and still receive the hype and positive feedback from our students. Therefore, we had to be very strategic and throw in a dash of creativity to determine how we would incentivize our students. One thing was for sure: the Germantown store was here to stay…No ifs, ands, or buts about it. That is when the Drive-Thru G-Town Store made its debut.

With our Drive-thru Store, students are still given the opportunity to earn rewards but with the use of a different system. Since our school currently utilizes Class Dojo for parent-teacher communication, the RTI²-B team thought it would be a great idea to utilize that same platform for our acknowledgement system. Students have the opportunity to earn between 0 and 5 points for various skills that include participation, teamwork, staying on task, helping others, and even school-wide competitions. Within the first few weeks, it was amazing to see the number of teachers actually utilizing the system to incentivize and distribute points to students rather than simply communicating with their parents. Once the students see the number of points they have earned, they are able to visit the store’s online website to see what items were available, select the items they want, or simply save those points to compete for those higher-priced items. If students choose to purchase, they must complete an order form with the appropriate information and pickup their items on the designated day. If they are unable to pick up their items on the designated day, we will hold their items and contact them to propose a different pickup date/time. Feel free to click around the school store’s website to see what Germantown has to offer!

 

The above images are screenshots from the G-Town Store Order Form.

 

The above image is from a G-Town store drive-thru pickup.

In terms of the logistics such as item selection, pickup date/time, and other essential pieces that comprise our RTI²-B program, we have a wonderful compilation of faculty and staff, who always bring awesome ideas to the table and ensure the work we are performing isn’t for our own benefit but for the benefit of our AMAZING students. We also cannot forget about our first-year student group, who assists with this awesome program. This core group of students were hand-selected by faculty and staff, who agreed that these students exhibit our school-wide expectations on a daily basis, are receptive to feedback while also providing it, are optimistic, and do not mind leading by example and being the voice of their student body. With all of these accolades, it was only befitting that we named them the RTI²-B Initiative. So far, these students have attended team meetings with staff members, as well as the coach. They have also been intentional in learning more about RTI²-B, what it entails, what that program should/could look like at Germantown Middle School, and what their exact needs or desires are. For example, the students inquired about being able to select items that they would like to see in the store. Most of them feel that their peers are more mature and would be willing to participate or work harder for those Class Dojo points, if the items are promising. We are super excited to see where this program lands after this year and where it will take us in years to come!

Great work, Germantown Middle, and thank you for sharing your story with us! Do you have a story to share? Learn more about how to be featured in a monthly spotlight here.