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Think and grow rich?

school offers cash for grades
USA TODAY NETWORKLori Higgins, Detroit Free Press3 p.m. EST November 1, 2015

(Photo: Tim Galloway, Special to the Detroit Free Press)

WESTLAND, Mich. -- Brandon Allen is determined tomake sure senioritis doesn't

hit during his last year atJohn Glenn High School in Westland. So he has signed a
contract that will pay him $200 per semester if he substantially improves his grades.
"I heard that senioritis is a real thing. I figured that if I signed up for this program, it
would keep me on track," said Brandon of Westland.
About 400 students at the nearly 1,800-student school have signed such contracts,
modeled after a smaller program at nearby Wayne Memorial High School. Both schools
are in the Wayne-Westland Community Schools district.
The new program, called Champions of John Glenn, is funded primarily by a $50,000
donation from local businessman Glenn Shaw and his family. Shaw, who graduated from
Wayne Memorial in 1961, lives in Canton, but Westland is still in his heart.
"I just love this community. ... We just know kids are going to do so much better," he
In addition to being able to earn $400 in a school year, the student with the highest
percentage increase in his or her grade-point average will receive a one-year scholarship
to the Wayne County Community College District or Schoolcraft College. Students
already having a top grade of 4.0 can earn the money by setting different

goals: organizing an event, taking a college entrance exam, reading a book or writing a
Nearly all of the teachers at the school as well as other staff members such as
custodians and the police liaison officer have signed on to become mentors. So has
the district superintendent.
Some teachers have taken on entire classes of students.
School psychologist Lou Przybylski said paying kids may seem like a dissonant concept
to some or a form of bribery to others. But the offer to pay students "becomes a
carrot that attracts their interest," he said.
"Once we get their interest, there's a tendency to work much harder toward the goal," he
At Wayne Memorial, about 25% of the students who enroll in the program meet their
goal. Another 65% improve their grades, Wayne-Westland Superintendent Michele
Harmala said.
Since the program started, ACT composite scores have increased from 17.2 to 18.8, out
of a top score of 36.
"The building culture has changed from one of apathy" to one that celebrates academic
achievement, said Sean Galvin, the program's executive director.
The Wayne Memorial program, called Champions of Wayne, began during the 2008-09
school year with about 30 students. It now helps pay incentives for about 125 students a
year, with funding from two local businessmen, Richard Helppie and Jeff Styers, both
graduates of the school.
Harmala, a lifelong educator, is already meeting regularly with the student she
mentors. As superintendent, she has little day-to-day interaction with kids.
"But my passion ... is the success of kids," Harmala said. "This gives me an opportunity
to give back ... and help a student in a closer way to succeed.
Przybylski, who is running the program along with assistant principal Kim Cieszynski,
said the goal is to improve academic performance, as well as build good study habits and
skills. Each mentor "becomes sponsor, coach, adviser, advocate and teacher."
"A school semester is 90 days and if you change your pattern of study skills for 90 days,
you can establish a sustainable habit," he said.

Students are expected to set a goal that they'll increase their grade point average by half a
grade point over the course of the semester. For Brandon, that means improving from a
3.5 GPA to a 4.0 GPA. It also means getting all A's in most classes, and B's in advanced
placement classes that carry more weight.
His mentor is marketing teacher Beth Johnson.
"She's like the little angel on the shoulder that kind of lets me know, 'don't forget to do
this, stay on track, you're doing good.' "
Having that extra adult pushing you is important, he said.
"If you don't have somebody in your background or someone to push you forward, or
give you that needed boost, it's kind of hard to stay focused. A lot of people aren't selfmotivated."
Not every student is motivated by the money. Przybylski told of a football player who
hesitated to sign up for the program until given the option of donating the money he
earned through improved grades to his favorite charity. He also told of a parent who wept
at a parent-teacher conference this week because her son is doing better than ever since
he signed up for the program.
Meanwhile, the adults who become mentors are also making a big commitment.
Przybylski said he felt almost guilty standing in front of teachers at the beginning of the
school year and asking them to do more work.
"Even though they're overburdened by state and federally mandated testing ... the core of
their being is to be a teacher and to be a teacher is to help people, to help students."
Follow Lori Higgins on Twitter @LoriAHiggins

For this assignment you are working alone. You will have to give your opinion on
this while taking a point of view. You either believe that students should or shouldnt be
paid for grade.

No in-between, unsure. You will state your point of view in the

introduction, clearly, and then back up your point of view using three well constructed
and well researched paragraphs. Do not forget that you must correctly in-text reference.
I would suggest that you find three (3) or four (4) other articles that can help back up
your points. You should also inject some of your own thoughts on the matter, seeing as
you are students. Your conclusion should summarize your work, while re-iterating your
point of view and why. I would encourage you to speak to other teachers and/or your
parents about this topicthe answers they give you may surprise you. Your writing
should be no less than 3 pages double-spaced. Work submitted late will not be evaluated.
Work that contains no in-text references will be given a grade of zero (0).
The evaluation page is below. The due date will be decided as a class.

Paying for Grades

Teacher Name: Mr. Agozzino
Student Name:



The introduction is
inviting, states the
main topic and
previews the
structure of the

The introduction
clearly states the
main topic and
previews the
structure of the
paper, but is not
particularly inviting to
the reader.

The introduction
states the main topic,
but does not
adequately preview
the structure of the
paper nor is it
particularly inviting to
the reader.

There is no clear
introduction of the
main topic or
structure of the


All sources used for

quotes and facts are
credible and cited

All sources used for

quotes and facts are
credible and most
are cited correctly.

Most sources used

for quotes and facts
are credible and cited

Many sources used

for quotes and facts
are less than credible
(suspect) and/or are
not cited correctly.

Grammar &

Writer makes no
errors in grammar or
spelling that distract
the reader from the

Writer makes 1-2

errors in grammar or
spelling that distract
the reader from the

Writer makes 3-4

errors in grammar or
spelling that distract
the reader from the

Writer makes more

than 4 errors in
grammar or spelling
that distract the
reader from the

Flow & Rhythm


All sentences sound

natural and are easyon-the-ear when
read aloud. Each
sentence is clear and
has an obvious

Almost all sentences

sound natural and
are easy-on-the-ear
when read aloud, but
1 or 2 are stiff and
awkward or difficult to

Most sentences
sound natural and
are easy-on-the-ear
when read aloud, but
several are stiff and
awkward or are
difficult to

The sentences are

difficult to read aloud
because they sound
awkward, are
repetitive, or difficult
to understand.

Focus on Topic

There is one clear,

well-focused topic.
Main idea stands out
and is supported by
detailed information.

Main idea is clear but

the supporting
information is

Main idea is
somewhat clear but
there is a need for
more supporting

The main idea is not

clear. There is a
seemingly random
collection of

Support for
Topic (Content)

Relevant, telling,
quality details give
the reader important
information that goes
beyond the obvious
or predictable.

Supporting details
and information are
relevant, but one key
issue or portion of
the storyline is

Supporting details
and information are
relevant, but several
key issues or
portions of the
storyline are

Supporting details
and information are
typically unclear or
not related to the


The conclusion is
strong and leaves
the reader with a
feeling that they
understand what the
writer is \"getting at.\"

The conclusion is
recognizable and ties
up almost all the
loose ends.

The conclusion is
recognizable, but
does not tie up
several loose ends.

There is no clear
conclusion, the paper
just ends.