SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

September 4, 2012

Attendance push prized by students, educators

BERKELEY, Calif. — School day wake-up calls recorded by celebrities. Weekend makeup classes. Contests with laptop computers, private concerts and cars as prizes.

Educators across the nation are using creative strategies as another school year gets under way to convince students and parents that regular attendance matters — and not just for grades and achievement.

New research suggests missing as little as two weeks of school can put young children behind their peers, burden overworked teachers, cost districts state dollars and undermine mandates to raise standardized test scores. So many public school districts have launched campaigns to reduce all absences, not just those serious enough to warrant a home visit from a truant officer.

“Students who are getting a ‘B’ and are OK with a ‘B,’ they think it’s in their rights to skip school now and then,” said Berkeley High School Attendance Dean Daniel Roose, who offered a movie night to the grade level boasting the best attendance last semester. “I’ve tried to challenge those kids and their families to change the mindset that you aren’t impacting anyone but yourself when you skip.”

The rewards are designed to supplement courts, mentors and other interventions for addressing serious truancy. They direct attention to what education experts call “chronic absenteeism,” which applies to students who miss 10 percent of their classes for any reason and may even have parental permission to be out of school.

To counter slumping attendance that tends to worsen as adolescents get older, about 200 middle and high schools in 17 states will be competing this fall in a challenge organized by Get Schooled, a New York-based nonprofit that uses computer games, weekly wake-up recordings from popular singers and actors, and social media messages to get students to show up in the name of school spirit.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Bandits hit 2 Beverly banks over 2 days

    BEVERLY -- Brazen robbers hit two Beverly banks in less than 24 hours. A man was arrested in connection with Tuesday's robbery, while the suspect in yesterday's incident remains at large, police said. It has been some time since this North Shore city

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416_SN_KYU_BAKER_3 Time to raise our game SALEM -- Swampscott Republican Charlie Baker has worked in state government for years, had success in the private sector and ran for governor in 2010. But the question he hears most on the campaign trail: Why does he want to run again? Baker said he

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Marblehead temple to drop mandatory dues MARBLEHEAD -- It might be a sacred space, but even the house of God gets bills. Temples have traditionally paid those bills by charging mandatory dues for membership -- dues that could run into thousands of dollars a year. Now Temple Emanu-El has la

    April 17, 2014

  • North Shore residents to run in 2014 Boston Marathon

    The Salem News asked those on the North Shore who are running this year's Boston Marathon to share their reasons for running. 

    If you're running the marathon this year, it's not too late to share why you're running. Send a brief paragraph, a photo of yourself and a link to your fundraising site (if applicable) to Cheryl Richardson at crichardson@salemnews.com.

    April 17, 2014

  • Hunters call for an end to Sunday ban BOSTON -- Mike Prendergast likes spending time outdoors, hiking through the wilderness, sleeping under the stars, and taking aim with his compound bow on white-tailed deer and wild turkey from his perch in a tree. Working more than 50 hours a week as

    April 17, 2014