Gallegos ES uses innovative strategies to boost attendance

Faculty and staff at Gallegos Elementary School are celebrating a victory for learning this week, after more than 99 percent of the student body reported to school for seven days straight.

The streak began on Dec. 10 with an attendance rate of 99.4 percent, and continued through Dec. 18, when the rate topped out at 99.8 percent.

Principal Jessica Tejada attributes the boost in attendance to the strategies she learned at the district’s attendance meeting on Dec. 5. She met with her own attendance committee a few days later to share what she had learned, and her staff members began implementing the strategies immediately.

“We are so excited,” said Tejada. “If students are not here, they are not learning. We were going to celebrate with bounce houses (moonwalks) on Dec. 19, but due to the weather, we postponed it until Jan. 6.

Among the strategies used were making friendly phone calls to the parents of students with two or more unexcused absences, visiting students’ homes, and offering children incentives, such as free dress passes.