The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Make it rain! Students earn cash for grades

Photo by Bella Donato
WCHS sophomore Catherine Ward smiles after receiving a $20 bill for acing her math test. The new MCPS Learn to Earn program awards students with monetary incentive for academic excellence.

A delicious meal, a fun time with friends and now it is time to pay. You take out your wallet just to be hit with a five-dollar bill and some loose coins. A wave of stress rushes through your body as everybody at the table begins scrounging for money; every little penny counts. Low on funds?  Get ready because it’s time to hit the books. 

As of April 1st, 2024, the MCPS school board has approved and initiated monetary incentives for all task grades to begin. Now, every WCHS student can bank money just by getting good grades. The pay scale works as follows: get an A to earn $20, a B to earn $10, a C to $5, and a grade of a D or lower to earn no money.

Prior to the official rollout of the Learn To Earn program, a select few WCHS teachers and students participated in testing the program for the past month, and it has been a complete success. So how do I get the money? Well, teachers are your new bankers! After all task grades are in, the first five minutes of each class will be dedicated to distributing cash payments to each student. It is an easy and straightforward way for students to obtain their hard-earned money. 

“I am a really big fan of this program because I basically get free money. Learning is free, but now I’ll get money for it, and it also encourages me to study more and get better grades,” WCHS sophomore Somie Choi said. “My new favorite part of the day is when my teacher hands me my cash payment!” 

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When it comes to students, money talks. To help support skyrocketing college tuition or just to have extra pocket money to enjoy with friends, this policy has endless benefits for students all around MCPS. 

“This program incentivizes students to do better as there is a financial reward out of it, WCHS teacher Rachel Sonnenberg said. “ I like the [Learn to Earn] program and have seen great improvement in my students’ grades.”

However, there are drawbacks to the program with students reprioritizing what is important to them. Some students may become too fixated with earning money, sacrificing all other high school experiences. 

“Now that I am getting paid for studying, I do find myself skipping practice and cutting back on my out-of-school activities,” Choi said. “I want the money, so I’ve been spending more time on school and academics.”

Additionally, questions have arisen about an unintended consequence of the Learn to Earn program – academic dishonesty among students. Because of the monetary incentive, students want that A+ even more now and get a leg up on the competition. However, it is important to note that there is still an economy outside of school providing financial opportunities for students. 

“Although there is money involved, I don’t think this program would cause an increase in cheating; it is more to recognize and celebrate a student’s hard work,” Sonnenberg said. “Also, there are many other ways students can earn money such as getting a job.”

With this announcement, the school is buzzing with excitement. Students are eager for the Learn to Earn program to pay off in more ways than one truly. Overall, it seems to be a win-win and a great technique to award students and encourage them to continue to do their best and work hard. 

“I am all for this groundbreaking move. The cash payments are an amazing way to acknowledge and award my work,” Choi said. “My friends, my parents, and I are really excited for the program to begin full-time.”

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About the Contributor
Bella Donato
Bella Donato, Internal Communications Manager
Bella Donato is a sophomore and is an Internal Communications Manager. This is her second year of taking journalism and she is looking forward to meeting new people and continue writing. In her free time, she enjoys dance and is on the Churchill Poms team.

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