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Going to the head of the class

Dale Thompson Of the Record staff

Get a good grade, get a candy bar.

The English Language Learners at Park City High School have an incentive to get good grades and attend class regularly. Kayla Dakota, who is responsible for the ELL Homework Club, recently started a rewards program that provides a treat for students who are performing well.

Dakota notes that ELL students are expected to do the same level of work as English speaking students but need some extra help because they aren’t as familiar with the language. The Homework Club is in place to help combat this problem.

Students go to the club for assistance with homework in any subject including math, science and history.

Each day Dakota tries to provide the students with food. Einstein’s donates bagels and cream cheese to the program and Wild Oats has given a gift certificate to help feed the students. Dakota says giving the students food helps them to concentrate on their work. It also helps with attendance.

"If we have food here, people will stay," she said.

Each week a reward is given to students who meet their goal of improving in a certain area. They are given a certificate of recognition and a candy bar. helping students to improve each week, they perform better at midterms and finals.

Counselors track the progress of students who are in need of more assistance. When they have reached goals, the student is given a gift certificate that gets them a hamburger, drink and fries.

There are other rewards throughout the year. For example, a $40 gift card to Walmart will be given to the ELL student with the highest GPA at the end of the quarter.

Dave Patterson, the ELL Aide, said of the rewards program, "It’s just another way to get these kids excited."

He believes it has been successful in providing a good incentive for students to perform well at school while giving the ELL students an opportunity to study.

"We’re trying to provide a comfortable environment to do homework," he said.

The rewards program is in need of food or gently used items to help provide incentives for the students. Dakota herself donated a pair of lightly worn snow shoes that she had at home. She would like other members of the community to contribute to the program with gift certificates, coupons for food, sports equipment, puzzles and more.

If you would like to donate items drop them off at the PCHS main office and label them as being for ELL.

They are also looking for five volunteers to help with the program.

Contact Kayla Dakota with any questions: 435-645-2152 or kdakota.


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