Dear Parents of Middle School Students,

We will be moving away from holding a middle school awards assembly and 8th-grade graduation. While we are beaming with pride with the accomplishments of our middle school students this year, our school will be transitioning our recognition efforts to be more in line with what is psychologically known about the negative impact of award assemblies. Please see the quotes and link below for an insight into why we are making the change. Additionally, we will restructure our resources to support the transition of our 8th graders to high school rather than an artificial graduation ceremony. 

“This is one of the most robust findings in social science—and also one of the most ignored,” wrote Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Pursuit of the trinket or prize extinguishes what might have been a flicker of internal interest in a subject, suffocating the genuine sources of motivation: mastery, autonomy and purpose. “To say ‘do this, and you’ll get that’ makes people lose interest in ‘this,' ” said Alfie Kohn, author of Punished by Rewards. Awards are that much worse than rewards, Kohn added, because they are simply prizes made artificially limited."

"For the majority of students who don’t receive public honors, awards ceremonies spur boredom, anger, or resentment, said Marvin Berkowitz, a professor at the University of Missouri—St. Louis and author of You Can’t Teach Through a Rat. Watching a peer receive an award inspires not a drive to succeed but rather a lingering bitterness, as well as an unfortunate association of school-sanctioned success with tedium."

With Cossack Pride,