Imagine a school programme that allows you to leave school one day per term with not just more knowledge, but a bag of food items to ensure that you and your family have a well balanced meal, or something to eat for a week.
Well, that is the scope of an incentive programme for students of Grade One to Grade Nine at the Norman Gardens Primary and Junior High School in Kingston. So successful is the programme that both students and teachers are singing its praises.
“It is called the ‘Supermarket’ and is a behaviour modification programme targeting students’ attendance, punctuality, academics and good citizenship” says the creator of the programme, Jennifer Rainford, who is also a Guidance Counsellor at the school.
Explaining how the programme works, she tells JIS News that if a student gets between 75 and 100 per cent for academic performance, that child has the opportunity to earn 50 to 100 points. “The points are commensurate with dollars, so with 75 per cent you get 50 points from the teacher, and for the supermarket that means $50.00,” Ms. Rainford says.
On ‘Supermarket’ days, students who have amassed enough points will exchange these points for goods in the supermarket. Up to 2,000 points can be accumulated, which will allow students to purchase a variety of items, even shoes and clothing, in addition to the grocery items.
According to Ms. Rainford, several companies have come on board, including Cals Manufacturing, GraceKennedy, the Jamaica Biscuit Company Limited and Jamaica Flour Mills Limited. With their assistance, students are able to obtain items to make their lives and those of their family members a little better.
“We are appealing to more companies to come on board with us,” Ms. Rainford tells JIS News. “What this programme is going to do is not just change the children for Norman Gardens Primary and Junior High School; it will change the children for Jamaica in the long run,” she adds.
“The students at the school are encouraged by this initiative and this is evident in their behaviour. Several of them have benefitted from the programme since its inception. One student, whose mother had no money to buy food, was elated when the student came home with rice, mackerel, corned beef, juice and other foodstuff that provided several meals for the entire family,” Ms. Rainford says.
One student tells JIS News that, “the programme helps in many ways without stressing my mother. We basically get food items that are very useful. I also used the points to buy shoes, rice and flour. I feel proud of myself because I have to earn good grades to earn the points."
The next ‘Supermarket’ days are May 30 to 31. As expected, the students are working hard to get good grades and improve the school environment, so they can accumulate as many points as possible.
Corporate entities and individuals interested in supporting the programme may contact Ms. Rainford at 759-7805 or 928-4609.
By Judith A. Hunter, JIS PRO