All students in the GPGC community participate in the community’s “token economy,” developed by psychologists Dr. George Middleton and Dr. Linda Brannon. All students receive a weekly salary based upon their performance in class and their out-of-class conduct. Teachers and counselors provide further incentive for student excellence by awarding tokens called “Brain Bucks,” which are redeemable for cash and are generally treated as exchangeable currency among the students. Students can even receive salary “raises” by contributing to the community by holding government jobs, writing for the newspaper, helping with the bank, etc.
The entire system is designed to reward youngsters for good citizenship and work well done. This is accomplished in a variety of ways: associating achievement with economic rewards (wages, in our economy) and special recognition; penalizing lack of achievement in a realistically negative way, letting the students experience reduced economic well-being. (Of course, this reduced well-being relates only to luxury items.) These material rewards and penalties are not substitutes for the pure joy of achieving a worthwhile goal, but an aid to bring more of our students closer to the attainment of such goals.