Juniper Elementary students who did well on state testing last spring got to practice something new: roller-skating.


Three-quarters of eligible students -- 265 out of 350 second through sixth graders -- got a skating field trip Friday based on their scores on the state Standardized Testing and Reporting results.


"The students who scored a 'proficient' or 'advanced' score on the language arts and the math portion got to go with us to the Power Play skating rink," said Principal Stephanie Poindexter.


At nearly all grade levels, Juniper's students beat the Hesperia Unified average scores, with almost 75 percent of second graders scoring either proficient or advanced on both portions of last April's state tests.


"We also presented 22 iPod [Shuffles]," said Poindexter. "Those kids are the ones who got a perfect score."


Two of the perfect scoring students elected for $50 gift certificates instead, as they'd won iPods the year before.


The school's Parent Teacher Club picked up much of the tab for the day's festivities.


The number of iPods given out is more than double those handed out last year. The nine students who won them last time around spoke at an assembly held before STAR testing to get students to take the tests, which are used to identify both low-performing schools and groups within schools that need additional resources.


Incentive programs like this are new at Juniper Elementary and Poindexter understands both sides of the debate around them.


"They have been excelling, even before we started doing this. I've always been a person who's all about intrinsic motivation" to do well, because it's the right thing to do, she said. "But, in real life, when you think about it, when you work hard, you get options. ... They should be rewarded for what they're doing, but I think they'd do it anyway."


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.