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Incentive Events Engage Winterfield Venture Scholars in Tracking Attendance, Engagement, and Behavior

As new Principal Kimberly Scribner started at Winterfield Venture Academy in early summer, she gave Dean of Grades K-2 Nicolette Starks an assignment – develop a more formal incentive program for the students based on academic grades, attendance, and behavior criteria.
 Children holding bowling balls.
Winterfield Venture Academy organizes quarterly incentive events based on scholars’ grades and attendance. This quarter, grades five through eight went bowling.

Starks got right to work on it over the summer. Once a month, those scholars who qualified would attend a Fun Friday event in school, and every quarter staff would take scholars who qualified out for a field trip. Creating this extra incentive encourages the scholars to continue to outperform the local district in all subjects.
Fun Fridays take place on the last Friday of the month, and are based on attendance, engagement, and behavior. Starks uses different criteria depending on the grade level. In grades third to fifth, students have Level Up Books where their behaviors are tracked such as being prepared for class, being in uniform, class participation, and being in attendance. In kindergarten through second grade, Starks uses the Dojo point system. Scholars need to earn 20 points a week. In middle school it is simply a matter of checking attendance, engagement, and behavior with the scholars’ teachers.
 Students playing bumper cars.
Scholars in kindergarten through fourth grade went to Playzone Toledo, where they could ride bumper cars.

In January, the Fun Friday event was a bounce house and inflatable obstacle course set up in the gym. The event is typically divided into two age groups in order to make the number of students participating reasonable.
The quarterly incentive events are based purely on grades and attendance.
“Scholars need to have all A’s B’s or C’s and the harder part, it seems, is having a 95% attendance rate,” Starks said. “There’s some frustrations from the students and parents with the attendance piece because they feel it’s hard to achieve, but that’s why we also created the monthly Fun Friday events.”
These students are enjoying some motorcycle racing.

The quarterly incentives are a field trip broken into two different age groups. Grades five through eight went bowling and scholars in kindergarten through fourth grade went to Playzone Toledo, where there are arcade games, bumper cars, and laser tag. Just over 100 students were able to go to one of the field trips. For the first quarter, all the scholars went to Urban Air, a trampoline park with a variety of activities.
“The scholars work really hard to qualify to go to these activities.” Starks said. “They feel special when they get called out of the room to go. It is free for them to attend, and they feel celebrated. It’s a really big deal.”
These two students are trying this virtual experience out.

Giving the incentive program more structure and formalizing it seems to have captured scholars’ attention.
“We have created a cohesive program with expectations that are tiered based on what’s appropriate,” Starks said. “This builds an inclusive program that the students will understand as they move up through the grade levels at Winterfield.”

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About Winterfield Venture Academy
Winterfield Venture Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Toledo, Ohio, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 95 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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