Longview ISD academic dean discusses Mustang Mall motivational program

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 11:14 AM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - School districts are always looking for new ways to motivate students. Longview ISD has come up with something that seems to be working at Ned E. Williams Elementary School. At their Mustang Mall kids earn points which can be “spent” for items in the store.

Ned E. Williams Academic Dean Christina Eagan says the mall has been around a couple years. But it was based only on Accelerated Reading, or AR, points earned in class. She says students were having a hard time earning enough for big ticket items so:

“We’ve combined points with the Class Dojo. Class Dojo is a wonderful way that we at the school use to do some classroom management. You get points for classroom behavior, for doing different things,” Eagan said.

Class Dojo is set up to notify parents of how the kid’s behavior is in school.

“Then we add in their AR points, so the students are able to get 50, 60, 100 points each six weeks, or more,” Eagan said.

She says students are also learning economics from the Mustang Mall like fourth grader Tyler Kennedy.

“I think it has like lots of good things and you can earn, and you can save,” Kennedy said.

I was surprised to see most of the students wanted to save their money for big ticket items.

“We have electric scooters that are for 800. We have some really, really cool dolls for 300 for the little girls,” Eagan said.

“So, you have 91 points, and you need to get up to 300 points, right? That’s going to take you a couple more six weeks probably to get there. You going to be able to wait?” Eagan asked a student.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Oh, awesome,” Eagan said.

It all sounds perfect, but there is a reality check built in.

“There’s an ability in this to also give negative points for behaviors we do not want to see,” Eagan said.

Six-year-old Delaney has a hundred points.

“What are you going to do with your points?” I asked Delany.

“Save them,” she said.

“For what?” I asked.

“A big doll,” Delany said.

It’s good to have a goal; six years old and already starting a savings account.

Eagan says this year they put third, fourth and fifth grade students in the program and there has been a noticeable difference in student achievement and behavior.