More buck for the bark

Special education student Jessica Volpe was the first recipient of a prize during the Bulldog Prize Patrol.

Emily Filec

Special education student Jessica Volpe was the first recipient of a prize during the Bulldog Prize Patrol.

Robby Filec, Staff Reporter

Surely you’ve seen the signs and heard the announcements, and maybe even seen the lockers, or even received a Bulldog Buck. Yet what is this Bulldog Pride that everyone is talking about? Why is it here?

“Bulldog Pride was a collaborative decision from Department Chairs and Administration aimed at addressing social emotional learning and creating a positive school culture. It is actually an Illinois state requirement that schools address and attempt improving social emotional learning,” said Science Department Chair Brennan Denny, who is in charge of collecting data for Bulldog Pride.

“The prizes that you can win consist of anything from a coupon or gift card to a local business  to snacks and treats, a fast pass for the lunch line, or bigger things later in the year are like Prom tickets for example,” Denny said.

In order to win a prize, a student must receive a Bulldog Buck.  Students then place the buck in their choice of one of the prize lockers in the Nurse’s hallway.  If that student’s buck is selected in a random drawing, they win their chosen pride.  Slips are drawn on a weekly basis for smaller prizes and a monthly basis for larger prizes.

Denny already sees the benefit of the program, which rewards students for good behavior.

“Anything that sets a good example, such as helping a student whose books have dropped in the hallway, and no one else is helping them, helping another student with a topic they don’t comprehend, a bulldog buck will be rewarded.  It differs from student to student the way Bulldog Pride is expressed,” Denny said.

One of the goals of the program is to increase overall school pride.

“We hope it will, but we don’t know yet. We’re just receiving data,” said Denny.

School administration does not intend Bull Dog Pride to be a one-year trial, but rather a more permanent institution.   “It can’t be a one year program; you have to adjust to the needs of the school. It is still in its baby steps,’ said Denny.