“It is in their handbook that they subject their students to wear an orange tee-shirt over their uniform when they are Out of the PRIDE, when they’re not given enough money in their paycheck,” asserted CEC 21 Treasurer and local parent Randi Garay at a Parent Education Program (PEP) meeting with the Department of Education (DOE) last October. “When they’re Out of the PRIDE, they miss out on enrichment. They’re not allowed to communicate with other students and they’re not allowed to be spoken to.”..... http://www.homereporternews.
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EXCLUSIVE: Orange is the new blackboard?
The orange shirts are the penultimate stage in Coney Island Prep’s system of discipline, which begins with a token economy called PRIDE – a system, measured in money, that allows teachers to reward and penalize students as they see fit by either awarding or deducting PRIDE dollars from students’ weekly paychecks, and which can result in the orange shirt punishment. The final stage in the system is suspension.
“It is in their handbook that they subject their students to wear an orange tee-shirt over their uniform when they are Out of the PRIDE, when they’re not given enough money in their paycheck,” asserted CEC 21 Treasurer and local parent Randi Garay at a Parent Education Program (PEP) meeting with the Department of Education (DOE) last October. “When they’re Out of the PRIDE, they miss out on enrichment. They’re not allowed to communicate with other students and they’re not allowed to be spoken to.”
The system is exhaustively mapped out. According to the Coney Island Prep handbook, students receive $50 worth of PRIDE dollars weekly, which teachers then add to or deduct from throughout the week. At the end of each week, the results are tallied and PRIDE paychecks are printed and distributed for parental signature. Students who fail to bring back their signed paychecks see $50 deducted from their bank accounts and find themselves Out of the PRIDE – a handbook-mandated consequence also visited on students who lose $20 or more in one day from their PRIDE paycheck or end their week with a $0 balance.
Among the acts for which students receive anywhere from $1 to $5 bonuses are going above and beyond in such areas as enthusiasm, professionalism, respect and integrity, and students may receive $20 for doing an excellent job on a major assignment or demonstrating PRIDE values through an exemplary act.
On the other hand, students can lose anywhere from $3 to $10 in PRIDE dollars for infractions, including, but not limited to missing homework, misuse of materials, grooming in public, leaving their seats without permission and arriving at school after 7:30 a.m.
Higher infractions include $20 deductions for a dean’s referral.
According to CEC 21 Recording Secretary Linda Dalton, the board brought its concerns to the DOE at the PEP meeting where members were approached by a DOE lawyer who took a copy of the handbook. They have heard nothing since from the DOE about the issue.
Despite the controversy, Coney Island Prep Founder and Executive Director Jacob Mnookin stands by the system, adding that the charter school hasn’t heard any complaints from its own parents.
“It’s just a different kind of take on a typical behavior management system,” said Mnookin, stressing the approach’s similarities to thousands of behavioral management systems used in schools across the country. “We think it makes crystal clear what our expectations are and what the rewards are for excelling and good behavior, and what the consequences are for not as good behavior.” The orange tee shirts have no special significance, added Mnookin, other than orange being a school color.
According to Mnookin, Coney Island Prep will not move forward with a PRIDE dollars approach or the orange tee shirts, at its elementary school planned to be housed at Cavallaro. Instead, the charter school will implement what the leader called a “stop light system” that aims to teach its younger students the basics of good behavior.
“Every kid would start every day at green and move to yellow or red dependent on their behavior,” he explained of the system, used already in other elementary schools across the country.
Either way, the team at Coney Island Prep stands by the consequences of being “Out of the Pride.” The school’s mantra – which, according to Mnookin stands for Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Determination and Excellence -- is also used to define a pack of lions; the school’s mascot.
“Being ‘Out of the Pride’ means that you’ve violated the norms and you’re out of the pack, out of the community” he explained, “but rather than having an in-school suspension, which we feel can take away from the educational aspect, kids can still go to class and participate in class; they just kind of sit separately until they can turn their behavior around.”
The DOE did not respond for a request for comment.
More about Coney Island Preparatory
- The salient portion of the Coney Island Prep handbook.
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