Community invited to help Pine Ridge Middle School ‘Go for G.O.L.D.’

Students at Pine Ridge Middle listen attentively to earn G.O.L.D. points during Mr. Daniel Bailey's history class. Photo by Rachel Ham.

Students at Pine Ridge Middle listen attentively to earn G.O.L.D. points during Mr. Daniel Bailey’s history class. Photo by Rachel Ham.

Plans for the first-ever G.O.L.D. Rush are coming together quickly at Pine Ridge Middle School, but there’s still time for parents, business owners and residents to take part in the fun.

The fundraising drive will begin Friday with the community’s first chance to participate coming on Monday.

“We’re trying something a little different this year to get people involved,” Pine Ridge Middle Career Specialist Kade Coggins said.

Typically, Pine Ridge follows the model of other schools and asks students to sell Christmas wrapping paper and cookie dough to pay for special projects. Students often get the opportunity to contribute themselves by paying a few dollars each to wear their favorite cap on “hat day” or enjoy lunch outdoors. As the school ramped up its reward system to encourage good behavior, however, Pine Ridge leaders decided to look for a better way to fund the incentives and also purchase more classroom technology.

The Lexington Two school recently implemented the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program to identify students who are doing well academically and behaviorally. The system also allows administrators and teachers to hone in on those who need help in reaching good behavior and academic goals. By adding the G.O.L.D. (Give My Best, Own My Learning, Lead by Positive Example, Demonstrate Excellent Manners) element, Pine Ridge tells its students exactly what those expectations are so they have a clear idea of what they need to strive for daily.

With reminders hung in nearly every hallway, students are turning in golden attitudes on a regular basis. To recognize them and encourage others to follow suit, faculty give out G.O.L.D. cards that students can later redeem for prizes and other rewards after they are signed by other teachers who witness them helping fellow students or behaving correctly. Students are given points for using positive language, being on time, acting appropriately on the bus, cleaning up their lunch area and more.

Throughout the school year, the six early release days will become G.O.L.D. days as Pine Ridge organizes food, games and activities. Students can turn in their saved-up cards to get a manicure, decorate cookies, play football or compete with a classmate in the video game room. Lunch with Principal Brad Coleman and extra concessions are also up for grabs during the year, and the exciting Hunger for G.O.L.D. Games will return this spring to Pine Ridge.

Teachers have spent money from their own pockets to buy supplies for the incentive activities but now will give others in the community a chance to reward students, too, by way of donating during G.O.L.D. Rush events.

“The money will go directly back to the kids,” Coggins said.

Lexington Two allocates funds for each school’s needs, but the budget can stretch only so far. Some Pine Ridge teachers do not yet have a SMART Board for their classroom, and more student iPads are needed to improve instruction. Coggins said Pine Ridge leadership hasn’t yet decided how to split the G.O.L.D. Rush proceeds, but a percentage will be used to purchase more technology, another benefit for students.

The middle schoolers will continue to contribute though in-house fundraisers starting with a G.O.L.D. Rush kickoff assembly Friday.

Three other community events are scheduled to help reach the $10,000 G.O.L.D. Rush goal.

During Sonic Night on Monday, from 5 to 8 p.m., teachers will be carhopping for tips at the new Charleston Highway location. Ten percent of the night’s proceeds will be donated to Pine Ridge.

Outdoor Movie Night at Pine Ridge is Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Cost is just $2 per person with kids ages 5 and younger getting in free. Concessions will be available.

Pine Ridge invites the community to enjoy the final G.O.L.D. Rush event on Sept. 21. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., G.O.L.D. Fest will feature live music, a silent auction, a kids’ fun zone, a cake walk, a rock climbing wall, horseback rides, Disney characters and much more. Admission is free; kids can gain access to unlimited games and activities in the kids’ zone for $10.

Coggins said Pine Ridge students at every level are getting excited about the G.O.L.D. Rush festivities.

“We hope this can be a new tradition,” she added.

Pine Ridge is seeking business sponsors to make G.O.L.D. Rush a success. Sponsorship recognition is available at $25, $50 and $100 levels. Call Coggins at 955-3752 for more information.

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