Morris Elementary Rolls Out Student Attendance Incentive Program With Rocket Center

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mars2 HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – When students don’t show up to class an inevitable deficit occurs. Students fall behind, can feel overwhelmed and often may simply give up.

Huntsville’s Morris Elementary School has partnered with the U.S. Space and Rocket center to sweeten the deal for students who consistently do their part to shore up attendance numbers.

A Morris Elementary fifth grader enjoys the Rocket Center’s DaVinci Exhibit.

About 30 wide-eyed Morris Elementary fifth grade students flooded the halls and exhibits of the rocket center Thursday – all part of their reward for good attendance.

Many of the students have never been to the Space and Rocket center before, even though they are a quarter-mile from the front door.

“We consider Morris Elementary to be our students that are in the shadow of the rocket,” says Rocket Center Education Director Julie Finley, “we’re right here and we certainly want to bring them on campus and let them see the relevance of what they’re studying every day in the classroom and how it applies in stem education and how it unfolds here at the center.”

Finley says in a little over a month, the school had already seen a vast increase in consistency of attendance with a trip to the center as the reward.

“I think 100 percent of the classes have qualified over this last 40 day term.”

Morris Elementary assistant principal Patsy Thomas reached out to the rocket center for an idea to motivate students to be in class each and every day.

“We sat down and developed an incentive plan and today what you see is the roll out of that plan,” Finley explains. “So throughout this week we will have Morris Elementary here on our campus.”

Fifth grade Morris Elementary Teacher Jan Coryell-Mahone says the program has not only been a Godsend – it’s been effective.

“They are so excited about this,” smiled Coryell-Mahone, “They might not get this opportunity to visit this museum had it not been for our partnership in education.”

As for the students – if the gleam in their eyes didn’t belie their gratitude, they’ll tell you themselves the day trip is like an early Christmas present.

“I think it’s great because we get to learn so many new things and it’s really special,” beamed fifth grade Kierra Nguyen, “because we don’t really get the chance to do this at home because maybe our parents are at work all the time and we never get to do anything – so I think it’s really special.”

Julie Finley says that sentiment is enough to spur the center on to continue the program with any interested local school.

“I think in keeping the data on the influence this incentive has made – I would certainly encourage other local schools to look to the Space and Rocket Center as being a motivator. So I always will throw a shout out to all our curriculum directors locally and say let’s talk. let’s find a way we can incentivize your students for better grades and better attendance and just reward them for a job well done.”

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