Jaguar Merits

In an effort to encourage and reward positive citizenship in our students, we sponsor a point system called Jaguar Merits. At the beginning of each trimester, every student starts with 100 Jaguar Merits. Throughout the trimester, merits may be earned or lost as a result of behavior and responsibility factors. This program is intended to provide students immediate and gradual feedback with respect to their overall citizenship and behavior. We believe that students learn from making mistakes, and this feedback on those mistakes will assist in the learning of acceptable behaviors. This also provides parents and students with a quick and understandable gauge of how the student is performing as a LJMS citizen. We encourage conversations between students and families regarding positive citizenship and offer positive rewards at home for "keeping merits up". Students who drop below 70 merits will not be eligible to participate in any extra-curricular activity at school until the student earns merits to once again be above the 70 merit level as per the policy outlined below. When a student is suspended from school, there is an automatic loss of 50 merits.


Merit Procedures:

  1. Each student at the start of each academic trimester will receive 100 Jaguar Merits. Students can earn or lose merits at any time. If a student reaches 0 merits they still have the ability to earn merits. This system does not allow students to fall below 0 merits. If a student falls to zero merits, an administrative/ parent conference will be scheduled to discuss behavior and a merit recovery program.
  2. Each office referral a student receives is at least a 10 merit loss unless otherwise noted by the merit procedures. Additional disciplinary action may occur such as outlined by the discipline policy of the school and District.
  3. Jaguar Merits will assist teachers in determining the citizenship notes on the trimester report card and do not affect a student's academic GPA.
  4. Students must earn the privilege of attending dances, participating in after school activities, and attending class field trips throughout the year. Merits will determine eligibility for all campus and extra- curricular activities, 70 or more merits are needed for eligibility. The following standards apply:

Dances: Students must have a minimum of 70 merits at the cut off time prior to the dance, including the 8th grade promotion dance. The cut-off for the dance will be the end of the week before the Dance. Administration reserves the right to count a loss of more that 10 merits that occurs during the week of the dance. If behavior is serious enough to lose more than 10 merits during the week of the Dance and this causes a drop below 70 merits, then the student will not attend the Dance regardless of cut off dates.

Extra-Curricular: Sports/extra-curricular activities. Students must have a minimum of 70 merits as of the preceding official grading period. A grading period is defined as the officially scheduled, report card or progress report period.

Trips: Participation in special trips is limited to those students who have maintained a record of positive citizenship prior to the trip. For trips that occur during the first trimester, students must have 70 or more merits at the designated cutoff point. For trips during the second and third trimesters, students must have 70 or more merits currently before the stated cut-off point for the trip (depending on the type of trip) AND 70 or more merits in ONE the two prior official trimester report cards ending a trimester.

  1. In order to help students recover from their mistakes or to be recognized for extra and responsible effort, students have the opportunity to earn merits through a variety of service-oriented activities. On average, students can earn 5 merits for every ½ hour of assistance they provide, but cannot exceed 20 merits when assisting with activities that are greater than 2 hours. At the teacher's discretion, students can earn no more than 5 merits per week performing class jobs during class time (i.e. office notes runner, paper sorter, science lab helper, book monitor). Students working in the IWE program may not earn merits for IWE tasks/jobs as this is your class experience.

Merit gain that teachers initiate:

  • Parent Signature returned (5)
  • Random act of kindness (5)
  • Helpful to substitute (10)
  • Class job performed during school day 5-10 merits per week if jobs rotate among class members.
  • Give merits for student being peer tutors at lunch, after school (5 for half lunch, 10 for whole lunch).
  • Jag Paw (Teachers can also give students 5 merits along with the award.)

Merit gain that students initiate:

  • Before school, after school or lunch jobs in the classroom (5 merits/ half hour): Organize books, clean, dust, wash lab equipment, catalog or inventory class materials
  • Students can work in the library before school and during lunch- they just need to sign up with the Library Technician.
  • Students can earn merits at lunch; half of the lunch for 5 and the whole lunch garbage pick-up for 10 merits.
  • Students can stay after school with Assistant Principal on Tuesday or Thursday after school, students need to bring a parent note for permission to work 3:00PM-4:00PM and schedule this session with Assistant Principal at least 24 hours in advance.

To regain merits, a student must first approach the staff member who deducted the merits before asking other staff members for opportunities to earn new merits. Students can only earn up to a maximum of 20 merits per week in a prearranged make up activity. Students must arrange such activities with a staff member prior to activity. Such merits must be earned from a Lawrence Jones Staff member. (Only Lawrence Jones Staff members shall issue merits). Merits may only be earned by participating in a Lawrence Jones Middle School approved or sponsored activity. Although considered worthwhile activities, students cannot earn Jaguar Merits for such service activities as, Girl/Boy Scouts, Boy's and Girl's Club or church-sponsored activities. Students who have difficulty making arrangements to earn merits may leave a note in Student Services to get help from school administration.

  1. LJMS staff looks for ways to acknowledge students who maintain a high number of merits throughout the trimester through the use of "Jag Paws" and honor assemblies. There are periodic other reward activities for students with high merits that may be pre-announced or may be a surprise.
  2. Students who accumulate 150 merits or more during a trimester are eligible for membership in the "Above and Beyond". Students will receive a special recognition for their outstanding citizenship.
  3. Merits will be posted weekly in the House 1 window. The Merits will be posted by student number. Students and parents can also see up-to-date, live Merits on our student information system "Quick Schools".
  4. Questions regarding merit totals are to be directed to Student Service.
  5. Parents of students who drop to 75 merits will receive notifications of their child's merit status, as they are 5 points away from ineneligibilty. Students who fall to zero Merits will need to meet with the Assistant Principal and parents to create a LJMS Success Plan.
  6. All students start over at the beginning of each trimester with 100 Jaguar Merits.
  7. Students whose merits are at zero during the Trimester will be placed on behavioral probation. This means an administrative conference will be scheduled with the student and his/her parents to determine a recovery program. When a student drops to zero merits, they may be suspended for each office referral he/she receives. Additionally, if the student is on a school sports team, they are removed from the sports team until merits are recovered to a level of 70.
  8. Staff members will be informed students when merits are deducted. Please refer to full matrix of offenses and merit loss listed in the student handbook.