The Lab School of Finance and Technology doesn't sound like your
typical middle school, and it isn't. It pays students for good
behavior, and pays them even more to save their cash, rather than spend it immediately. How? By creating a middle school bank with middle school bank executives:
Students earn "school bucks" for exhibiting desired values: teamwork, compassion, relentlessness, scholarship and reflection. Students then use the bucks in the school store to buy products such as the popular "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" book (10 bucks), pocket folders (one buck) or flash drives (30 bucks). Donors provide most of the inventory.
Those who wish to save their bucks can put them into the student-run bank, earning 10% interest. Executives ... make 10 school bucks an hour, while the store's employees earn five.
And the grown-up approach to math and finance appears to be working:
The attention to business principles may be a contributor to the school's progress on math. In 2003, only 10% of the entering sixth-grade class was proficient in math, Mr. Gonzalez said; today that number is 80%.
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