This is the last week of school, and that means it is time to hand out awards. I have to say that I'm proud of my kids for theirs. My son had the most Accelerated Reading points in his grade. He got hooked on Harry Potter and read four of the books this year (actually this semester) thus earning a large number of points per book. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, Accelerated Reading assigns a point value to a large number of books based on their length and reading level. Students read the books and then take a computerized test on them. If they score 100% on the test, they get 100% of the available points; if they get less than that, they get that percent of the available points, as long as they get at least 70%. Both my kids' schools not only assign point targets per nine weeks but also provide prizes for those who exceed them.
I almost missed seeing my daughter get most of her awards. Our last name is near the beginning of the alphabet and her class was the first one up. One thing I like about her school is that at awards time they find something about which to award each child. As the parent of a son who struggles and a daughter who doesn't, I appreciate the acknowlegment that a child is working. My daughter got awards for good grades in most of her subjects, but the best came at the end of the presentation. In Louisiana, all public school fourth grade students have to take the LEAP, a high-stakes (flunk the test, flunk the grade) criterion referenced test. Since the school is graded on how well the children do, they want to motivate the children to do their best. Part of that m motivation is a large trophy that is presented to the student with the highest overall LEAP score. Tonite there is a waist-high trophy sitting in my daughter's room.