Recording a score of 30 or higher on the ACT in high school will garner a student plenty of opportunities for college admission and scholarships on top of that.
But for students in Jackson-Madison County Schools who score 30 or higher, they get a little more than that to enjoy.
That’s why JMCSS celebrated its second annual ACT 30+ Club luncheon at the DoubleTree Hotel.
“We’re always looking for ways to motivate our students to do better, to reach for that next goal,” said JMCSS Superintendent Marlon King. “And we provided a few incentives as a district for those students to do that in an important step for students to take on the way to possibly going to college.”
As a district, JMCSS’ average score on the ACT jumped nearly a full point this past year.
King said he hopes the incentives offered this year – with the potential for more incentives next year – will motivate students to do better.
“Well first of all, if you’re a student that’s worked hard all during your high school career and have done well enough to put yourself in position to score a 30 or higher – or like one student did and earn a perfect 36 score – you deserve special recognition,” King said. “But how many students will be taking this test in October and next March when the state mandates it to be taken plus any other times any of them choose to take it will see this and think, ‘Hey that’s something I want to be a part of next year. I wonder if I work hard enough can I do that?’
“The answer is yes you can. But for most of us, we have to work at it. A 30 on this test doesn’t just happen.”
The first incentive for a student is a purple cord of recognition the student receives at a school board meeting during a time of recognition. The student will wear that purple cord at graduation.
Next is the luncheon held at the end of each school year at the DoubleTree in which they and their parents are invited along with their principals, JMCSS leaders, school board members, Education Foundation Board members and other community leaders.
But it was at the luncheon on Monday when two more incentives were announced.
“The first one is each member of this club will receive a Black Card,” King said, before taking a few minutes to explain what the Black Card does.
It’s essentially a membership card for the 30+ club that entitles the owner to a list of perks. Those perks include a waiver of all school fees until they graduate.
“Any fees they may incur from being a student in our district are waived for them until they graduate,” King said. “If they’re in an extracurricular activity and they pay fees as part of the membership, those dues are paid for by us.
“They can present that card at the admission gate at sporting events and get in free. Anything in which they give money to us because we’re charging them, they’re taken care of. And even after they graduate, they can come back and watch a basketball or football game or whatever and get in for free until their 20th birthday. But it expires when they turn 20.”
The other incentive was given out at the luncheon.
“I texted one of the parents of these students and asked if they think an iPad or a laptop would be better, and the parent suggested the laptop would be a better option because they can use it if they go to college or even if they get in the working world,” King said. “So we went with laptops that were purchased by the Education Foundation.
“So if you’re a member of the 30+ Club, you get a laptop at the luncheon at the end of your senior year, and hopefully we’ve prepared you for your next phase in life, but we know we’re equipping you a little more for that next phase with this. We want the students – all students in our district to know that we’re here for them and we back them even after they graduate and leave us. And this is a special way we’re telling the 30+ Club members that.”
Brandon Shields, email@example.com