Mercer County Career Center: STRIVE Positive Behavior Program

Posted on Categories Classroom Management, Engaging At Risk Students, Recruitment and Retention, Student Engagement

At a Glance

Mercer County Career Center (MCCC) implemented STRIVE, a Positive Behavior Expectations program for all students, to create a supportive environment for learning.


The MCCC administration wanted to help students develop the behaviors needed to become more employable, increase their self-esteem, and improve attendance. With these goals in mind, it collaborated with the local SkillsUSA chapter to implement STRIVE, a program that sets high behavioral expectations for students and rewards them for meeting those expectations. The administration identified five key principles that support a positive learning environment for students: Safety, Teamwork, Respect, Inspiration, Vision, and Effort (STRIVE). These principles met the needs of both the CTC and the local workforce. 

After establishing the five principles, the administration began working with student and instructors to implement the behavioral expectations and the correlating rewards. Using STRIVE as a guide, each class at MCCC defined behavioral expectations specific to their needs. Students receive a STRIVE grade based on their behavior, and they receive reward tickets for going above and beyond the expectations of the five principles. Tickets may be redeemed for a variety of rewards such as hot chocolate and donuts. SkillsUSA manages many of the prizes and reward opportunities throughout the year, which include coffee days, cupcake days, Fall Fest, a holiday party, and a field day during which students can turn tickets in for food and chances to win prizes.

MCCC addressed two primary challenges as it implemented STRIVE. One challenge was to secure the funds needed for the activities associated with the program. To accomplish this, SkillsUSA hosted a schoolwide fundraiser. In the future, MCCC hopes to secure more donations from local businesses, industry and the community. The second challenge MCCC faced was to ensure staff members and SkillsUSA members had a shared understanding of the purpose and goals of the STRIVE program. For this to occur, administrators stressed the need for ongoing collaboration and effective communication between those involved in the program.


There has been annual growth since the administration initiated the program about three years ago. In that time, administrators note a decline in discipline incidents and an improvement in student attendance. Also, students are earning more STRIVE tickets. Because of the reward opportunities, student interaction between program areas has increased.


Mercer County Career Center

Tony Miller, Assistant Director

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