We understand the importance of student engagement and intrinsic motivation to the learning process. Research has demonstrated that people better process and retain information from an experience if they’re emotionally engaged with the activity. Also, developing an enjoyment of learning will lead to a life-long internal drive to seek out new information and take responsibility for one's own cognitive and developmental growth.
Our program includes techniques developed by Claudia Porter that have proven highly effective in building both self-esteem and intrinsic motivation. Teachers present challenges in a fun way and provide immediate positive feedback to students to encourage hard work and confidence. Additionally, we develop academic skills through engaging games and activities so as to more fully engage the students in the learning process. We encourage teamwork rather than competition, a sense of personal responsibility, and pride in excellence. We expect our students to work hard and achieve in accordance with their abilities.
At Porter Academy, we have implemented an awards program that rewards our students for doing activities at home that are beneficial for their learning and development. This program is called Safari Bucks and has proven to be very successful. Students record all the time they spend reading, doing math, or other beneficial activities which are counted as Academic Minutes. At the end of each month, students add up what they logged, receive a star on their certificate (color of the star reflects the number of minutes logged), and are awarded one Safari Buck for every one hundred minutes logged. The parents' job is to replace those Safari Bucks with real money. Many students save up their Safari Bucks for something they'd really like. This acts as a great incentive as well as developing the important emotional skill of delaying gratification.
An extension of the Safari Bucks Program is the Gold Star Luncheon. Students who log 1,500 or more minutes in a month earn a gold star and an invitation to our Gold Star Luncheon held at the school. They also receive a free ice cream coupon from Moe’s Southwestern Grill (located at 660 West Crossville Road in Roswell). Students who earn five gold stars during the school year are invited to join the Five Star Achievers Club, receive an off-campus luncheon, and a commemorative t-shirt at the end of the year.
What can be counted toward Academic Minutes?
While at school, students earn pennies for making good choices within the classroom: being kind to others, following directions, working hard, etc. Every other Friday, students count the money they have earned/saved and get to go to the school store to see what they are able to purchase. Students also have the option of saving their money for a toy they can’t afford yet. This program serves as a consistent way to provide positive reinforcement to students for good choices, develop the important skill of delaying gratification, and develop an understanding of money (values, adding, more/less, and saving).