Barrel Battle, An Incentive Based Program, Aims to Boost Student Engagement District-Wide

Kyle Hobson Discusses the End of Spirit Rallies and a New Take on Building School Culture

Andy Garrity, Staff Writer

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For those who don’t know, Barrel Battle is a competition between each grade level of students that involves getting points and prizes (on behalf of your class) for things such as acts of kindness, fewest tardies, and the recently added category of MORP attendance. Each month’s Barrel Battle competition has had a different focus.  

Kyle Hobson, East’s assistant principal and one of the architects of Barrel Battle, said she became involved in an effort to get students more involved in their own personal responsibilities. “The spirit assemblies were not as effective as we wanted them to be in regards to garnering school culture and school spirit,” Hobson says.  

Hobson explains that when looking for a replacement to spirit rallies, there was a desire to design something that would create change in the school culture which would be sustainable throughout the year.  

Examples of school culture targeted for change include MORP dance. “Dance attendance, especially [the spring dance MORP]  has been very low, Hobson says. So this is an incentive to get people out.”

Spirit Barrel is an incentive-based program, which is the opposite of disciplinary steps, which usually involve consequences for students breaking rules.  

Hobson thinks many students are doing a lot of great things, and they should be rewarded. “I feel this is a way we can get to those kids and show them that what they are doing matters,” Hobson explains.

The success of Barrel Battle will not be determined until the end of the year when the data, as it applies to Barrel Battle from the current school year, has been gathered.  Barrel Battle was launched in December last year.

Prizes for winning classes have included food and at West a performance from staff band, Staff Infection.

Jake Gran, a senior, says he thinks Barrel Battle could benefit from more advertising. Gran says it would be helpful to have weekly stats, perhaps including an email with the current results. “The announcements are hard to hear and people don’t check Schoology,” Gran says.  

For now, the jury is out on the effectiveness of this initiative, but Hobson is excited and welcomes suggestions and participation. “If people have feedback, ideas, or want to get involved for next year I’d love [for them] to come to see me, ” she says.