Written by Alex Gribler, AmeriCorps member serving on the New Schools for Baton Rouge team at Claiborne Elementary School

What is your favorite part of being a City Year AmeriCorps member? If I had to guess how many times I’ve been asked this, I wouldn’t be able to come up with a big enough number. My answers seem to vary each time, seeing the kids get off the bus every morning, running around at recess with them, or witnessing the moment they finally understand a concept I’ve been teaching them all week. I’m convinced I’ll have 100 more answers to this question before the year is over. This week, I have a new answer.

East Baton Rouge Public Schools use a system called PBIS (Positive Behavior Incentive System) to track the attendance and behavior of the students. One of the many roles of our team at Claiborne Elementary is to design incentives for students to come to school everyday, and be on their best behavior. This is an enjoyable job for us, as we love rewarding our students for their positive work.

Last Friday, we had our first AttenDance. An AttenDance is put on by the City Year team, as a reward for the homerooms with the best attendance. The two winning homerooms got to come to the gym and dance to their favorite music with us, the AmeriCorps Members! While designed as an incentive for students, it’s safe to say this was one of my favorite days of school to date. One of the homerooms that won was my class, which made the experience even more enjoyable. There were snacks, glow sticks, hula-hoops and balloons- an elementary school kid’s dream. So for now, my favorite part about serving with City Year is spending my Friday afternoon “JuJu-ing on that beat” with the greatest 8-year-olds I’ve ever met. 

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