Castle Credits: A reward for students or a teacher’s coupon for lunch?

Castle+Credits+provide+a+fun+scratch-off+prize+to+reward+students%E2%80%99+good+behavior%2C+but+the+prizes+don%E2%80%99t+end+up+being+as+close+to+rewarding+as+they+are+for+teachers.+

Brooklyn Campbell

Castle Credits provide a fun scratch-off prize to reward students’ good behavior, but the prizes don’t end up being as close to rewarding as they are for teachers.

In an effort to prevent bad behavior by rewarding good behavior, the R.A.I.S.E team develops the castle credit system to promote prevention over punishment. On paper, it sounds like a good system, until you read the fine print.

For a student to receive a castle credit, they must display one or more of the RAISE pillars: responsibility, accountability, integrity, service, and enthusiasm. Teachers recognize a student displaying these behaviors, and give them a castle credit. When a student turns in a castle credit, they get a piece of candy as a reward, and their name is put in a pot for a larger prize. If you know about castle credits, you know this already. 

What you may not know about is the teacher incentive. When a teacher gives out a castle credit, their name is entered into a drawing to win prizes far better than a simple piece of candy. These prizes include, gift cards, Door Dash their favorite lunch, or a bell covered by an administrator. These prizes are given out once a month at staff meetings, which, last I checked, once a month happens more often than once a quarter, which is how often student names get drawn for larger prizes. 

The teacher incentive opens up opportunities for teachers to abuse the castle credit system. Teachers could give them out for the smallest deeds in order to receive more entries into the monthly drawing. I think encouraging teachers to hand out castle credits can be good, however, these drawings take it too far. The teachers should recognize good behavior and hand out castle credits without the need for incentives.

Even with the teacher incentive, students rarely ever see their peers getting a castle credit, or receive one themselves. Most students did not know castle credits existed. So does the teacher incentive really work? Do we really need it? It feels counterproductive. 

I am not saying scrap the castle credit system altogether. I am saying it has potential, but we should revise it a little, starting with the teacher incentive. We do not need it, and we should not need it. We should not need to bribe teachers to reward good behavior in the students. The castle credit system wants to create a safer and happier environment for the students, which in turn, will create a safer and happier environment for the teachers, which should be incentive enough. Teachers should want the school environment to be safe and happy for both themselves and the students, not because Door Dash is showing up for lunch.