At Boynton Beach High, if you follow the rules, you’ll get rewarded

Feb 28, 2018
Boynton Beach Community High student Tiffany Harris, a senior, stands by the HERO VIP lunch line. (Handout: Boynton Beach Community High Principal Guarn Sims)

If a Boynton Beach Community High student followed the dress code everyday or was always on time for class, in the past he or she might have never received a “good job” or a pat on the back. As part of an overall attempt to change the school’s culture, Principal Guarn Sims decided it was time to give those students the shout-out they deserve and, in January, began the Hero program .

Boynton is the first school in Palm Beach County to use it, Sims said.

Hero is a software system from Plasco that is accessible on phones to teachers and school administrators. If teachers see students following the rules or doing something extraordinary, they can log on to their profile and give them points.

Once enough points are acquired, the school awards a prize such as movie tickets, fresh baked cookies or an ice cream social. One day in February 150 students got an award, according to a school Facebook post.

“Kids are starting to really like it a lot because they’re being recognized,” Sims said.

The school is also working on creating a “VIP Hero” room for the students.

Parents can download the Hero application to keep up with their children’s good behavior. They can even get push notifications throughout the day.

Also, the program tracks all behavior — good or bad — and teachers can use it to give late slips or keep track of warnings. Sims also said it used to take 10 to 15 minutes for a student to obtain a pass, but it now takes less than 5 minutes using Hero.

Sims came to Boynton this academic year amid struggles at the school — which has about 1,600 students — to raise student achievement and after calls from community activists for a new leader. He replaced Fred Barch, who was principal since 2014. Sims previously led Boynton’s Galaxy Elementary, Lantana Middle, Village Academy and Royal Palm Beach High School.

Boynton was a D-rated school in 2015 and 2016 and was upgraded to a C in 2017, according to Sims.