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Column: Renaissance program helps WMS students succeed

By TONY HASTINGS, District 518

WORTHINGTON — One approach that the Worthington Middle School has taken to improve academic achievement and acknowledge student success has been through the incorporation of the Renaissance program.

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Renaissance is an education-focused program founded in 1988 by Minnesota-based Jostens. It was developed by educators in efforts to inspire the acceptance of and excitement for academics that has traditionally been reserved for athletics. The focus of the WMS Renaissance program is to increase student attendance, improve overall academic performance, build school spirit, and to create a safe and positive school environment.

To achieve Renaissance status, a student’s GPA (grade point average) must reach a certain level at end of each quarter. The levels start with Bronze (2.5-2.99 GPA), Silver (3.00-3.49 GPA), Gold (3.50-3.99 GPA) and finally Platinum, where a student achieves a (4.00 GPA) on a 4.0 scale. Also, to qualify for Renaissance status, a student is not allow an F on their report card.

Students benefit from the program because it highlights academics and rewards students for their achievements. In fact, many of the rewards come from local businesses including Subway, Pizza Ranch, JBS, Perkins, Wal-Mart, Northland Cinema 5 and Hy-Vee. Renaissance students also receive a certificate and classroom coupons. The coupons that students’ receive can be used in place of an assignment and/or quiz, with the teacher’s permission. Students also receive a Renaissance T-shirt that symbolizes their academic achievement.

At the end of each quarter, students are recognized for their accomplishments and are treated to some form of entertainment. The Renaissance program has been in place and WMS for a number of years.

The continued success of the program can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of the staff, students and parents of Worthington Middle School. If you or your business is interested in supporting the WMS Renaissance program, please contact the Middle School at 376-4174.

Tony Hastings is assistant principal at Worthington Middle School.