Santa Claus is not the only one granting special wishes this holiday season.
Jason Johnson, a special education teacher at Apache Junction High School, 2525 S. Ironwood Road, was one of 400 teachers awarded $2,500 each through the Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charities for Teachers Draft Day presented by SRP.
The grant money is being used to supply the classroom store that includes snacks, drinks and meals that is used to reward students for good behavior within the classroom environment. The students are part of the program STARS — Students Taking Accountability and Responsibility for Success.
However, Johnson, who is in his first year of teaching at AJHS, is using an innovative approach to tweak the old system. The new model will allow students, who range from 14 to 17 years of age, to enhance their life skills, as well as getting a lesson in economics.
“Rather than purchasing things at a blanket price, the prices will fluctuate due to supply and demand,” said Johnson. “In essence, the more students want one object, the price for said object will increase rapidly while that which they do not buy will decrease making it more likely to be bought in the future. Thus, while students continue to earn behavior points and electronic classroom money as part of a token economy, students will now learn about inflation and will have to manage their money accordingly. In essence, students will learn to use their money more wisely, which will help them budget better in real life.”
Johnson gave a shout out to his assistant, Sierra Gayle, who helped make receiving the grant possible.
“Without her, the whole process would have been too much for me to handle by myself,” said Johnson. “Now we have enough funds to stock our store and provide a ‘real world’ economy that rewards good behavior, but also provides a hands-on example of the importance of supply, demand and budgeting.”
AJHS emphasizes a well-rounded education where academics, sports and extracurricular activities allow students to grow scholastically, physically and emotionally. AJHS graduates have access to more scholarships per student than in most communities in the Valley and qualifying students have access to Promise for the Future to earn a tuition-free education at Central Arizona College.
Registration for all new students who wish to enroll in Apache Junction Unified School District schools are currently being accepted at all school locations. For information about AJUSD or its schools or departments, visit ajusd.org.