Shawn Rux took over as principal of MS 53, a New York City middle school, last year. At the time, 50 or 60 kids were absent every day. You could understand why they stayed away: The school was chaos.
Twenty-two teachers had quit, the entire office staff had quit, and hundreds of kids had been suspended. The school was given a grade of F from the city’s department of education.
“It was in a bad place,” Rux says.
Rux decided he needed to create incentives for kids to come to school. Incentives that were more obvious to middle-school kids than, “If you come to school you’ll be better off 20 years from now.”
He handed out raffle tickets to anyone who showed up to school on time. One of the prizes was an Xbox. And he threw in an element of randomness: The first kids in line when the doors opened might get 20 tickets.
It worked. Kids started showing up early.
“It was … like, ‘Get out of my way, I’m trying to get into school,’ ” Rux says. “It was nice.”
Rux also created his own currency. He called it Rux Bux. Teachers hand them out when kids are well behaved. They can be traded in for school supplies, or special lunches. A sixth-grader named Wander Rodriguez is trying to save up 5,000 Rux Bux — enough for a personal shopping spree with Rux.
The principal also stands outside school every morning, greeting the students as they show up. This recognition is another, subtler incentive to come to school.
“I like this school,” Wander Rodriguez says. “They treat me like home, they treat me nice, they always give me stuff. … They always say ‘hi’ in the mornings.”
The school went from an F to a C. Daily attendance went up to over 90 percent. Then the hurricane hit.
The school is in Far Rockaway, Queens — one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. Some kids’ homes were destroyed. One student who stayed at home through the storm told a teacher, “My apartment complex was in the middle of the ocean.” Rux’s car was destroyed. The first floor of his house was flooded.
After the storm, after school started up again, Rux’s goal was to get attendance back to 90 percent. Every day, his staff texts him the attendance numbers. The day I visited last week, 89.2 percent of students attended school. Close, but not close enough for Rux.
The storm has been tough on everyone, he says. But that’s no excuse. Kids have to be in school.
not going to see this man in no news nowhere
Right and that’s sad. But he’s doing amazing work. These are the kinds of people we need in our schools and they sadly get no recognition.
the school i work at follows a similiar style, giving out scholar dollars for good behavior, grades etc.
#cleopatra with the nose knocked off. I wonder if people still think she was European like the movies betray…
I still think it’s one of the most desperate things whites have done to blacks and to black history. The disrespect is outrageous. They came to our country and mentally could not fathom how these black civilizations could be so great. They literally rode through our lands and shot the noses off of our statues. Why? So that the statues would no longer resemble the African people and they could LIE about the origins of Egypt and countless other civilizations. It was a widespread practice. It’s why statues of Pharaoh’s and their wives have no noses. It’s why the Sphinx has no nose. When I was in middle and high school, we were taught that the noses had fell off due to time and poor craftsmanship! They have literally tried to teach us that our ancestors were shitty builders of noses just to hide their malicious destruction of our heritage. European fears of African peoples had to come from somewhere. I want to know what part of the history is missing. There’s something that they don’t want to be told.
The shade is real
Again why go to such lengths?!?
Uhh, well, you’re part right, they didn’t just fall off.