Raub Middle School's Attendance Incentive
Like many Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania (CISEasternPA) site professionals, Lloyd Brooks knows how hard it is to get kids to school.
At CISEasternPA, we always ask, "Why is a student not coming to school ready to learn? Ultimately, the list of challenges that students face is lengthy and ever-changing. Often students lack essential items like clothes, shoes, or even food. There are students that need to help out in their own homes while their parents are at work. Some children are experiencing bullying and don't want to speak up.
To address these types of school-wide concerns, CISEasternPA site professionals will create initiatives focusing on a particular issue- like attendance- that have been identified as a barrier to success.
As an avid sports fan and coach, Lloyd used his love of basketball to create a unique attendance initiative for the students at Francis D. Raub Middle School in the Allentown School District.
Before developing this program, a few things were at the top of the list of priorities. Lloyd wanted to ensure that this program was fun and engaging for the students and showed improved results to parents and teachers.
"I want the kids to get excited about seeing their own progress," said Brooks. "As much as they get excited about winning a raffle or a prize, they get equally excited about seeing their grades improve, and that's why I'm here."
To participate in this initiative, students are required to sign a pledge to improve their attendance. Lloyd then tracks the attendance of those students in their homeroom class. On a daily basis, Lloyd checks to see if those students are present and coming to school on time. For each day that a student meets those criteria, they will receive 2 points–just like a made basket in basketball. Those points add up each day and each week. At the end of the marking period, the homeroom with the highest total points will have a celebration. Also, every two weeks, there are student raffle drawings for prizes.
"It's a lot of work, but the message is that regular attendance leads to success now and in the future. The positive benefits of creating a routine and also a connection to the school is profound," said Brooks.
So far, 187 students have pledged to participate in this attendance intervention program!
Working toward perfect attendance has its challenges. Brooks shared a list of tips to help along the path to success. Establishing a morning and nighttime routine, getting involved in a school sport or activity, limiting technology time, eating a healthy diet, and even partnering with friends to challenge each other are ways to enhance attendance results.
As an agency, CIS site professionals improved attendance in 60% of case-managed students within the 2021-22 school year. Initiatives like these are crucial to unlocking the potential in every student we serve.