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Attendance: schools' no.1 fund-raiser

Attendance: schools' no.1 fund-raiser

By Nancy Gutierrez

In an effort to improve attendance Lincoln Elementary School has started a 100 percent attendance program designed to create excitement among students about getting to school.

During a staff meeting teachers decided to create 100 percent attendance banners for each room.

After attendance is taken each day, those classes with all of their students present get to display their banners proudly in front of their doors. The banners were designed and created by first grade teacher Diana Lemus, who said there seems to be an improvement.

"It is a fun idea and the kids need something tangible," Lemus said. "The kids want their class to have their flags up."

In addition to the attendance flags, Lincoln has also started an attendance committee of teachers who work to find other incentives to get kids to school.

The attendance push has been a focus at recent school board meetings. The Exeter Union School District receives funding for their average daily attendance (ADA), not for how many students are enrolled in the class. The most recent amount that the district receives per day from the state for each child is $25.95. The district has a total of 2,023 students enrolled. The average daily attendance is 1,947, or 96 percent ADA.

In 2003 Lincoln began a downward trend in attendance. In the first month of that school year Lincoln had an ADA of 96 percent. In the last month the ADA was down to 94 percent. In the first month for this school year Lincoln had 96.2 percent ADA.

In a quarterly report written by Principal Jane Mitchell in April 2003 she states; The enrollment in February was 625, but the ADA was 589… We lost $25.30 each day for each absent student. If every day in February 36 students were absent, Lincoln lost $910.80 each day or $16,394.40 for the month of February [2003]. Money generated by ADA helps pay for salaries, books, materials, transportation, and classroom supplies.

Mitchell recommends keeping children with fevers or who are contagious at home. But she writes, "If you take your child to the dentist, bring your child to school in the morning before the appointment or after the appointment is complete."

Other schools within the district have been working on improving attendance. Last year Wilson Middle School gave Compact Discs and a discount rate to enter school dances for students who had perfect attendance. Rocky Hill Elementary will be giving quarterly attendance awards for students who have 100 percent attendance for the whole quarter. This includes no tardies.

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