Tuesday, September 13, 2011


My mother always said, "It never hurts to ask. The worst they can say is, 'no.'" She was a smart cookie.

As I discussed previously, I'm in charge of the Students of the Month and Homeroom of the Month initiatives at my building. Over the summer, my principal discussed a few changes to the way the students and homerooms are chosen with me, which I don't really agree with. I'm of the opinion that we should reward kids frequently, consistently, and for relatively simple and minute things. Build up the sense of self-esteem and self-worth in knowing that they can "do it," then increase the expectations and level of performance for a reward, otherwise you'll have no student buy-in. My principal has very high expectations for our students, which in theory is a great thing, but it's hard to expect high poverty, low performing students to have 95% attendance, 100% uniform use, etc. But I digress.

My principal did make some great suggestions though. She wanted to reward our star homerooms with a pizza or ice cream party every month and award repeat winners with a special class field trip at the end of the year. Our student winners get some neat things already--their picture taken and put on a bulletin board, their name announced over the loud speaker and put in the school newsletter, and a certificate--but, I suggested more meaningful incentives, like gift cards or "good for" coupons to local restaurants. My principal also suggested a special field trip for multiple student winners, to really recognize their substantial achievements. Bigger and better rewards for being a kick butt student? Sign me up.

Off I went to fundraise. I totally spammed the postal service asking local fast food chains, grocery stores, dollar stores, etc for donations and funds. Mind you, I'm absolutely prepared to shell money out of my pocket to reward my kiddos, but I knew this was going to be too big of a cost. We typically have 20 students and 1-2 homerooms crowned every month. At first, I had no bites and only rejections, and I was bummed. Then, I started playing phone tag with our local McDonald's corporate office, who wanted to donate coupons. When they asked me what I was looking for, I said that we expect to give out 25 coupons to kids a month, and left it up to them to determine their contribution. Well, they offered me 25/month for the ENTIRE YEAR, all personalized for "McStudents of the Month." Later that week, I received 10 certificates for a free pint of ice cream at a local frozen custard store, 100 coupons to Wendy's, and today, 50 coupons to Burger King, all personalized for my school. Woah.

I was so totally blown away by the generosity of the local business community. True, I understand that they have a commitment to donations and giving to causes in the area, but I never expected such a great response. I'm so thrilled and excited to shower my school with incentives and rewards!

Moral of the story: if you want something, ask for it, because you just might get 250 McDonald's hamburgers and fries out of it.
Don't forget to check out and "Like" my Facebook page


  1. My dad always tells me: "You don't get what you don't ask for." The response you got is proof! We have a PBIS program in need of funding so it looks like I will be soliciting fast food chains this week! Thanks for sharing this! I am enjoying your blog! ;)

  2. Thanks so much, Danielle! I spent a whole afternoon surfing your blog when I found it, it's a fantastic resource and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of all your ideas!

    Fast food isn't ideal, but the kids love it, and it's a guarantee that they have a meal/snack outside of school. I also sent donation letters to Wegman's and Tops Markets, so I can buy supplies for ice cream parties, snacks for a whole class, pizza parties, etc. A good idea if you want to reward a large group quick!

  3. I also love that you did so much fundraising!! We have a prize box that gets raided every Friday for our PBIS program. I am going to start asking everywhere for some donations! What did your letter format look like? How did you approach this issue of getting a donation?

  4. Hi Tabitha! I Googled local businesses/fast food places/grocery stores around the zip code of my school and made a list. I chose the closest 3-4 locations each of McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, ice cream shops, local fast food (like our local Taco Bell-ish place), Tops Markets, & Dollar Stores, then sent out form letters personalized for each business. Went the donations came back in, I highlighted on the list which places donated so I would know to specifically ask them again next year.

    I'd be happy to send you my form letter! Drop me a line at schoolpsychmusings@gmail.com and I'll send it over. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.