The average number of credits earned per student at Pivot North Valley increased nearly 80 percent from Spring 2017 to Spring 2019. According to Pivot North Valley Site Administrator Travis Bennett, one of the factors contributing to that increase is a creative motivational tool the school launched in Fall 2018: the Credit Tree.
The Credit Tree is a tree that has been painted on a wall of the school, and students get to put a leaf onto the tree for every five credits they earn. There are different colored leaves to indicate that they are a students’ first, second, or third leaf, and so on; and the goal is for each student to add six leaves a semester indicating the completion of 30 credits.
“Our goal was to come up with something symbolic and visual, something we could do that would entice kids to want to finish classes,” Bennett said. “It ended up spawning competition, and kids would be clamoring to put up their leaves as soon as they’d finish a class.”
Pivot North Valley is now in its second year of implementing the Credit Tree concept, and it continues to motivate students as a visual reminder of their progress. The tree starts each year fresh, without leaves, and students add leaves throughout the year as classes are completed.
Bennett has seen the Credit Tree produce confidence and pride in Pivot North Valley, and he has even seen some students accelerate their learning as a result.
“We have one student who wanted to be the very first one to have a certain color on the tree. She is a senior this year, and she is on track to graduate early,” Bennett said.
In addition to inspiring Pivot students, the Credit Tree is meaningful to teachers and parents. The Credit Tree helps teachers remember the big picture since it illustrates the impact of their day-to-day efforts helping students succeed. Similarly, parents visiting Pivot North Valley are reminded of students’ successes every time they walk into the school and see the tree.
Pivot North Valley plans to maintain the Credit Tree as part of the school culture to continue motivating students for years to come.
“The Credit Tree seems like something that’s here to stay,” Bennett said. “It has become special to our students, parents, teachers and staff; it’s now part of our identity and who we are.”