Growing for it: North Ridge implements new learning initiative

After meetings between teachers and administrators, North Ridge Elementary decided to “Grow For It.”

The “Grow For It” initiative was launched two weeks ago at the Frenship Independent School District school in an attempt to help students grow in areas they needed help in.

“We were looking at things like our behavior, our tardies and all those things and were just trying to figure out a way that we could motivate kids,” North Ridge Principal Shannon Morrison said. “But we wanted it to be on the kids; we wanted the kids to feel empowered to grow (and) to get better at whatever they needed to get better at.

The initiative primarily focuses on attendance, showing up to class on time, academics, teamwork and behavior.

Third- through fifth-grade teachers were asked to break their classes up into three groups to start the event. Each group earns points based on how well they do on weekly tests that are distributed, their attendance and demonstration of growth.

The children are also given points for displays of good behavior, earning upward of 20 points for acts of kindness.

The change in behavior and academics has become apparent for teachers since the “Grow For It” launch.

“What we are seeing is kids are taking ownership of their own learning. They are setting their own goals and they are really learning to encourage each other. We are seeing a lot of kids who may have failed the week before make growth,” North Ridge fourth-grade teacher Chandra Malone said. “They see that they are getting better and going in the right direction and it encourages them to keep doing better in class.”

Even the North Ridge students have noticed a change.

North Ridge fifth-grader and Team Lemur leader Brody Turner said: “When we didn’t do ‘Grow For It’ people were tardy. Our principal (Morrison) said there was like 40 or 50 absences, but then we did this and there was 10 or something like that.”

Turner’s team won the “Growphy” — a trophy presented to the winning team each week — in the initiative’s most recent presentation.

The North Ridge students are on the hunt for their turn to hold the trophy. But more importantly to the school faculty, the children are growing.

“It’s really fun,” fifth-grader and team leader of the Squirrels McKenna Burke said of the initiative. “There has been a lot less of everything.”

At the end of the semester, an overall winning team will be named and will take a limousine ride to a steak house as its award.

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