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Nile C. Kinnick High School Assistant Principal Shelly Kennedy, left, and Principal David Tran may be sporting wild hair-dos in a month if freshmen at the Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, school improve their TerraNova test scores.
Nile C. Kinnick High School Assistant Principal Shelly Kennedy, left, and Principal David Tran may be sporting wild hair-dos in a month if freshmen at the Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, school improve their TerraNova test scores. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — If you were in high school, would you rather see your principal:

a) wear a tutu for a week

b) kiss a pig, or

c) sport a mohawk hairdo?

Nile C. Kinnick High School students picked “mohawk” for Principal David Tran and fluorescent green hair for Assistant Principal Shelly Kennedy.

Why? Because messing with hair prolongs victory more than the other humiliating options, explained senior Chris Sanders.

Whatever works, say Tran and Kennedy, who want students to take the TerraNova test seriously. If the freshmen improve five percent over last year’s scores, Tran gets a mohawk. If they improve seven percent, Kennedy will join Tran and dye her hair bright green.

“I’m scared,” Kennedy said. “But the students are really psyched up. I actually saw students excited to take the TerraNova, and I’ve never seen that before.”

The TerraNova is a standardized test that assesses students in reading, language arts, math, science and social studies. More than 400 Kinnick students in grades nine through 11 just finished three days of testing, and Tran sent out the tests for grading Monday. He expects results back in a month.

Although there is no funding directly attached to TerraNova testing, it’s an important tool schools use to identify their strengths and weaknesses, Tran said.

The added incentive was the brainchild of Kinnick’s student-led Continuous School Improvement Jr. team.

“I wasn’t sure that anyone would get into it, but they reacted in a really positive way,” Sanders said.

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