The dreary skies of the last week cleared out just in time this Saturday for Rucker Elementary School’s principal to lace up her walking shoes and carry out her mission of making sure all her students know they are loved.
Principal Eileen Puente and group of volunteers and staff from Rucker Elementary School came together for a door-to-door effort to help check in on students who have recently struggled with attendance.
“We want them to know that we are here for them and we want them in school,” she said.
If 80 percent of success is just showing up, students at Harper Alternative School and Inspired for Excellence Academy are going to have a great year. These two HISD schools made the largest gains in attendance from the fall 2013 to the fall 2014 semesters and were rewarded with certificates and assemblies featuring inspirational speakers and entertainment.
“You did something great!” said Harper Principal Raymond Glass II to his students. “You beat out all the other schools in HISD.”
Students whose families move during the middle of the school year are being allowed to stay at their “home school,” or the one they enrolled in at the beginning of the academic year, thanks to a innovative HISD program called Home Field Advantage. Since May 2014, schools involved in the program have seen their overall mobility rate drop by an average of 10 percentage points.
During his State of the Schools address last February, HISD Superintendent Terry Grier promised to create a program to build educational stability among highly mobile students. Subsequently, students at 13 elementary schools, where roughly 30 percent of families move in any given year, were offered transportation to their “home” school, even if their parents moved. Continue reading →
CITGO Petroleum Corp. and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) gave away 30 Kindle Fire tablets to students at six Houston-area schools in the second year of “Kindling Young Minds,” a project designed to boost attendance. Two HISD schools – Inspired for Excellence Academy and Harper Alternative School – are part of the program. The HISD schools were selected to participate in the project because of their at-risk population and low attendance rate. Continue reading →
More and more, educators are realizing that attendance is critical to a child’s academic success. In fact, attendance is directly tied to performance – in general, the lower a child’s attendance rate, the lower their grades. Chronic absenteeism (missing 10 percent or more days a year) leads to a greater chance of that child dropping out of school.
HISD’s Family and Community Engagement Dept. (FACE) has been using a new initiative to increase attendance at Franklin and Whittier elementary schools, with positive results. FACE provided professional development for teachers and attendance clerks, a workshop for parents on the importance of attending school, and programs to promote attendance. The attendance plan had three major components: a data-tracking system, a rewards program, and chronic-absenteeism intervention.
September is Attendance Awareness Month, and HISD schools have worked hard to make sure students are in class. Some schools have used incentives, such as parties, to increase attendance.
Students at Shadowbriar ES donned their favorite pajamas on Fri., Sept. 27 – everything from Hello Kitty and Sonic the Hedgehog to the Buc-ee’s beaver – for a party to celebrate achieving a 98-percent attendance rate. Principal Stephanie Davis said the 74 percent of students who had perfect attendance will get another treat – a popsicle party where they can win prizes.
From friendly campus competitions to going door to door in their communities, HISD schools are getting creative in ways to increase student attendance. September is Attendance Awareness Month, and HISD is joining school districts around the nation to deliver the message that attendance matters for success in school and in life, and that too many absences can easily add up to academic trouble.
At the monthly HISD principals’ meeting on September 4, school leaders shared what they are doing to reward students who come to school every day, and how they are reaching out to those who are having attendance issues.
Principal, science teacher use gift cards, other incentives to keep kids in class
When children are absent from school, it’s not just the students who lose out on their daily dose of instruction. Over time, campuses lose out on their ability to deliver it as well.
School funding is determined on the basis of students’ average daily attendance rate, so a dip of even a single percentage point can cost campuses thousands of dollars in funds needed to support their instructional programs. Continue reading →