Posted Date: 12/18/2018
The Attendance Race at Chanute Elementary School began with a focus on making students and parents aware of the impact that absences have on academic and social skills. Now in its second year, the principals are seeing other benefits to the program that rewards students for perfect attendance.
“Student attendance over all is pretty good.” said Assistant Principal Noel Shinkle. “What I think the attendance incentives bring is a sense of unity in the classroom and in our building. The kids really work hard to be at the school and to advance on the attendance race to beat other classes in their grade level.”
Using a race track graph across the stage in the cafeteria, students get to move their class’s rocket forward one spot for every day the class has perfect attendance. The goal is to have perfect attendance for 80 percent of the month. Each class is competing against the other classes in the same grade level.
The goal is for the students to strive to be at school to learn.
“We’re not expecting for attendance rates to be perfect for each class, just 80 percent,” Shinkle explained.
“It seems to make attendance more of a priority. It’s a motivator to get them here.”
Rewards are given to classes making the monthly goal – last month Shannon Finley’s fourth graders received root beer floats as their treat. Another time the winners ate lunch with the principal, and in December hot chocolate is the reward.
This year, school administrators added another incentive. Students who have perfect attendance for a month get a t-shirt. Each successive month they have perfect attendance, they get a patch to add to their shirt. After September, when 319 students met that goal – the principals purchased a heat press because it was taking a long time to iron on all the patches. In October and November 168 more shirts and close to 450 patches were handed out.
Perfect in this scenario means a student is at school every day, with no tardiness and no exiting school early. The counting takes place from one monthly assembly to the next.
“The best part about the perfect attendance incentives is if you did not earn it the first month you can earn it with perfect attendance the next month,” Shinkle said. “Any student can continue to strive for perfect attendance, even in May.”
There are multiple ways to be recognized for attendance at CES.
“Every kid has a chance at earning an attendance incentive without having to have perfect attendance. They all have a chance to meet an attendance goal somewhere,” she said.
They can have perfect attendance and get a shirt, the class can get 80 percent perfect attendance and win a pop corn or hot chocolate party, if none of the classes get 80 percent then the class with the highest percent of attendance gets the traveling trophy and photo on the wall of fame, or they can win a school prize for perfect attendance for the semester or entire year.
“Common goals bring unity and motivation,” Shinkle said.