Making attendance a priority

 

Attending school regularly helps students grow academically, emotionally and socially. Students who show up every day feel better about school and themselves. Working to increase attendance for all of our students is one way we are focused on creating promising futures in Clover Park.

Each of our schools are implementing new and innovative ways to help increase attendance. Here are a few ways they are tackling this important issue.

Supporting students, overcoming barriers

Helping students make it to class every day is a top priority. Clover Park High School focuses on this task by getting to know each struggling student as an individual, understanding his/her situation and making a plan to overcome any barriers.

“Not every student has the same opportunity,” said CPHS Dean of Students Brian Olsen. “Not every student starts at the same starting line, and it’s our job, as educators, to remove those barriers.”

CPHS administrators use what they call “ABC” data to identify students who need help. ABC data focuses on attendance, behavior and course grades. That’s when their family involvement coordinators, Lamar Hudson and Beatriz Villa Real, get to work.

They meet with students and families and work hard to make connections and foster relationships that can lead to better attendance. “A lot of times it’s about helping students tap into the right motives,” Olsen said.

The importance of being on time

Increasing attendance starts with getting students to class on time. At Woodbrook Middle School, they are focused on decreasing tardies and ensuring students are in class when the bell rings.

Woodbrook counselors examined September and October tardy data and found a downward trend. Student tardy rates began increasing as the days went on. They decided it was time for a schoolwide effort to put getting to class on time on everyone’s radar.

“It’s important for students to know that getting to class on time is a skillset they’re going to need for the rest of their lives,” said Johnathan Love, Woodbrook counselor. “It absolutely impacts their ability to learn.”

Love and his fellow counselors put a plan in place to decrease tardies by 40 percent. They targeted periods each day and challenged students to show up to those classes on time and tracked the progress of each grade level in the school cafeteria. Classes that met the goal earned donuts and a free period before winter break.

Love emphasized the impact being on time can have on a student’s education and said that Woodbrook is intent on attacking the problem any way it can.

Showing up for a night out

Showing up every day comes with a number of rewards for students at Four Heroes Elementary, but the biggest one is a chance to spend even more time at school. Students with top-notch attendance are invited to the school’s Kids Night Out event.

Kids Night Out is an after-hours celebration that happens once each trimester. The event is a chance for games and activities for students but also provides free childcare for parents who want a night out on their own.

“We were trying to do all these things to get students to be in school and it just didn’t seem like it was effective,” said Jacklyn Shope, assistant principal. “The missing piece was asking ‘what gets kids in school?’ and we realized it was the parents. We knew there was some way to incentivize them.”

The last Kids Night Out was held in December and the theme was based on “The Grinch.” Attending students participated in activities on the computer, worked on art projects and decorated the principal and assistant principal like holiday trees.

“It lets them experience school in a little different way,” said counselor Janette Mikita. “It’s fun to see kids get excited to do lots of those fun things they normally don’t get to do here.”