Gold coins are a hot commodity at Memorial Park Elementary School.
A new positive behavior program at the school rewards students with gold coins for performing a good deed, having perfect attendance or carrying out other admirable actions.
Principal Eric Rigsby said he and others developed the program based on a very similar one at Corley Elementary School in Boaz. Like Memorial Park, the school only houses second- and third-graders and a program there encourages students to earn positive behavior points.
Rigsby said he happened to run into Corley Elementary's principal at a workshop and the two discussed how to implement the program at Memorial Park.
All of Memorial Park's students have been divided into six groups or "crews" to compete for which crew can earn the most coins for positive behavior. The collected coins are on display near the front office in acrylic boxes to help the children track their crew's progress.
Each crew is monitored by five teachers.
"In talking with our teachers at the end of the year last year, our third-grade teachers said, 'We never get to see these second-grade kids until they make it to us.' They wanted a way to build relationships with those kids and kind of know them before they got to their classroom," Rigsby said.
In an effort for teachers to foster familiarity with other students, the new positive behavior program is designed for third-grade teachers to mentor second-grade students and vice versa.
Rigsby explained second-grade teachers have been excited to see the students they taught last year as well through positive behavior system meetings.
"For the rest of the year on progress report day and on report card day, students will meet with their crew leader 30 to 45 minutes for character education with teachers," Rigsby said. "They get to sit down and talk with them and learn about their families and interests. It's a way for the school to promote attendance and good behavior, and it also fills that need for our teachers getting to build relationships with kids outside of their classroom. They get to invest in other kids in the school that they don't typically get to see every day."
The crew with the most coins at the end of the nine weeks will receive a reward, such as a classroom party.
Another new addition at Memorial Park this year will be an academic night for parents.
"It's to explain what our curriculum is, how we as a school teach that, and how you as a parent can help your child at home," Rigsby said.
Parents will be invited on Sept. 12 to the school to participate in 30-minute sessions — one each for reading and math.
Refreshments will begin at 5 p.m. and learning sessions will begin at 5:30 p.m.
"I think it will be very beneficial for our parents," Rigsby said.