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Compass Program’s Positive Incentive Program motivates, inspires, and rewards students

Every school day is a new opportunity for students in Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES’ (CO BOCES) Compass Program to make good decisions and earn points. The school-wide Positive Incentive Program enables faculty to award students with points based on their actions. Teachers and staff use LiveSchool, a web-based app, to record students’ points. Students who earn enough points can participate in special activities, ranging from ice skating and kickball to VIP movie screenings and trips to museums and restaurants. Compass Program Principal Drew Yakawiak launched the Positive Incentive Program in 2015-16.  

“The goal of the Positive Incentive Program is to inspire students to create a positive community,” said Yakawiak. “Students understand that they need to follow the rules and expectations of the program in order to earn the right to experience these unique opportunities.”

About the Compass Program
Eighty-one students from nine component districts are enrolled in the 2016-17 Compass Program. The alternative education program is for middle and high school students who have experienced difficulty in attaining school success within a traditional learning environment. The Compass Program offers small class sizes and individualized support to help prepare students for a regents diploma.

“Our teachers are passionate, lifelong learners who think outside of the box,” said Yakawiak. “They all work toward a common goal: to help our students achieve success.”

Incentive Program delivers results
Nearly 75 percent of students earned enough points to participate in the Positive Incentive Program’s bi-weekly activities during the 2015-16 year. On many occasions, every student earned the right to participate. Veteran CO BOCES Social Studies teacher Jim Keegan says he’s had a positive experience with the program since its rollout. “I use the LiveSchool app on my phone, so it’s very easy to access and reward points throughout the day,” said Keegan. “I’ve seen the program make an impact on all of our students, especially those in middle school.”

Keegan says the program has strengthened school-to-home communications.

“Parents are now able to monitor their child’s LiveSchool account at any time -- and students can access their status too. A quick glance at their child’s account is extremely informative -- and can help parents steer their kids on the right track.”
Students like the program too.

“The Positive Incentive Program helps our students buy into school,” said Keegan. “Its simplicity produces positive results.”

An eighth-grade student agrees.

“The best trip last year was laser tag. Just getting out of school and having fun was awesome.”

The student says the key to earning points is to behave in class and be positive.

“I check in daily to see how many points I have -- this helps me stay focused.”

The first incentive activity of the 2016-17 school year takes place Thursday, Sept. 15. Eligible students will experience team building activities at Casowasco.

To learn more about the Compass Program, please contact Principal Drew Yakawiak at or click here.

Written by Danica Kaltaler





Brian K. Hartwell, Ed.D.
District Superintendent of Schools

1879 West Genesee Street Rd.
Auburn, NY 13021
Phone: (315) 253-0361

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