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Eisenhower generals earn stars

Feb 08, 2017 05:11PM ● Published by Bryan Scott

Eisenhower Junior High’s administration posts students’ progress toward earning rewards on a bulletin board at the school. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

Eisenhower Junior High “Generals” earn stars to participate in end-of-quarter activities. 

“Teachers are always looking for students who need a little push to the next level,” said Melody Garcia, a teacher at Eisenhower. 

The Five Star Generals program rewards students for having good grades and attendance. 

Principal Mark Ellermeier said the program is a combination of incentive to do better and reward for those who are already doing well.

“We want to reward students who are getting good grades and are doing what they are supposed to be doing,” he said.

The last day of each quarter, students reap the rewards from the stars they’ve earned.

“The higher the GPA, the bigger the reward,” said Ellermeier.

The Breakdown for earning stars is:


1 Star 1.99–0 GPA 

2 Star 2.49–2.0 GPA

3 Star 3.499–2.5 GPA

4 Star 3.999–3.5 GPA
5 Star 4.0 GPA


In addition, students can earn a Silver Star. For this, they must earn a .5 increase over the previous quarter’s GPA or have a 4.0 GPA held for more than one quarter. Those who earn a Silver Star are recognized in front of their classmates. About 150 students each quarter earn a silver star and receive a treat during class.

Desiree Cann, an eighth-grade student, doesn’t ever want to be on the One Star level. 

“They don’t get to do anything fun. It is just a regular day in class for them,” Desiree said, who earned three stars.  

“I’m trying to turn in all my missing assignments and be good in class.”

Two Star students receive a small treat in class such as donuts or candy. 

Three Star students get out of class to watch a movie in the auditorium. 

Garcia says it’s good that these kids get rewarded.

 “The kids with 2.5s are doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” she said. “They are coming on time, excusing their absences and doing what the teachers ask.”

Katie Rossetta is a seventh-grader who earned three stars last quarter. She says the movie offered as the reward was one she’d already seen, but it was still good to get out of class. Katie plans to try harder to earn four stars next quarter. 

Being a Four Star student is a great goal because Four Star students get to leave campus for their reward. For the first quarter, they go see a first-run movie at the Cineplex Theater at Valley Fair Mall. Second quarter, they go ice skating. Third quarter is a bowling day at Fat Cats. Students pay the cost for the outing, and the school pays for the buses that take them there.

However, if a student earns five stars, they get to participate in the activity at a reduced price. For example, Four Star students pay $5 to see the movie, while Five Star students only pay $3.

Eighth-grader Ernesto Jimenez believes if students don’t achieve the GPA they are striving for, they can keep trying. He explained what it took for him to earn his Four Stars.

  “Follow directions, listen to the teacher,” he said. “They ask you to do it, and you think it’s too hard, but if you think about it and try—it’s really not.” 

Former Vice Principal Donna Harris said the incentive program to recognize more than just the top students. Garcia, who has taught at Eisenhower for 16 years, explained they used to only reward students with a GPA of 3.75 or higher and even then, the reward was just an ice cream sandwich. Garcia was glad when Harris started the new program over ten years ago.

“These kids want to do better,” said Garcia. They get excited when star levels are posted on a bulletin board outside the main office.

Ellermeier said the program helps kids focus on good grades. They are motivated by the rewards. 

“Anytime I can reward students— I’m all about that,” he said.


“Teachers are always looking for students who need a little push to the next level,” said Melody Garcia, a teacher at Eisenhower. 

The Five Star Generals program rewards students for having good grades and attendance. 

Principal Mark Ellermeier said the program is a combination of incentive to do better and reward for those who are already doing well.

“We want to reward students who are getting good grades and are doing what they are supposed to be doing,” he said.

The last day of each quarter, students reap the rewards from the stars they’ve earned.

“The higher the GPA, the bigger the reward,” said Ellermeier.

The Breakdown for earning stars is:


1 Star 1.99–0 GPA 

2 Star 2.49–2.0 GPA

3 Star 3.499–2.5 GPA

4 Star 3.999–3.5 GPA
5 Star 4.0 GPA


In addition, students can earn a Silver Star. For this, they must earn a .5 increase over the previous quarter’s GPA or have a 4.0 GPA held for more than one quarter. Those who earn a Silver Star are recognized in front of their classmates. About 150 students each quarter earn a silver star and receive a treat during class.

Desiree Cann, an eighth-grade student, doesn’t ever want to be on the One Star level. 

“They don’t get to do anything fun. It is just a regular day in class for them,” Desiree said, who earned three stars.  

“I’m trying to turn in all my missing assignments and be good in class.”

Two Star students receive a small treat in class such as donuts or candy. 

Three Star students get out of class to watch a movie in the auditorium. 

Garcia says it’s good that these kids get rewarded.

 “The kids with 2.5s are doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” she said. “They are coming on time, excusing their absences and doing what the teachers ask.”

Katie Rossetta is a seventh-grader who earned three stars last quarter. She says the movie offered as the reward was one she’d already seen, but it was still good to get out of class. Katie plans to try harder to earn four stars next quarter. 

Being a Four Star student is a great goal because Four Star students get to leave campus for their reward. For the first quarter, they go see a first-run movie at the Cineplex Theater at Valley Fair Mall. Second quarter, they go ice skating. Third quarter is a bowling day at Fat Cats. Students pay the cost for the outing, and the school pays for the buses that take them there.

However, if a student earns five stars, they get to participate in the activity at a reduced price. For example, Four Star students pay $5 to see the movie, while Five Star students only pay $3.

Eighth-grader Ernesto Jimenez believes if students don’t achieve the GPA they are striving for, they can keep trying. He explained what it took for him to earn his Four Stars.

  “Follow directions, listen to the teacher,” he said. “They ask you to do it, and you think it’s too hard, but if you think about it and try—it’s really not.” 

Former Vice Principal Donna Harris said the incentive program to recognize more than just the top students. Garcia, who has taught at Eisenhower for 16 years, explained they used to only reward students with a GPA of 3.75 or higher and even then, the reward was just an ice cream sandwich. Garcia was glad when Harris started the new program over ten years ago.

“These kids want to do better,” said Garcia. They get excited when star levels are posted on a bulletin board outside the main office.

Ellermeier said the program helps kids focus on good grades. They are motivated by the rewards. 

“Anytime I can reward students— I’m all about that,” he said.

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