Attendance Awareness

Elementary Schools Face Off for Best Attendance

The McGraw Elementary School Vikings and the Carver Elementary School Cobras will be competing against one another over the next two months. They won’t be facing off in sports, but to see which campus has the best school-wide attendance.

To continue on with their attendance awareness initiative, United Way of Yuma County has challenged students at two local elementary schools to be present at school every day – and on time too. At a kickoff assembly at McGraw, students watched a video sent over from their rival school. Carver Elementary Principal Deb Drysdale joked, “The bite of the Cobra is sharp, and it’s poison is long lasting. Vikings from McGraw, we accept your challenge, and you will go down.”
McGraw Elementary Principal Adar Garcia told his student body that if they are genuinely committed to maintaining their attendance, their campus will actually be the ones who will reign victorious over Carver. As students cheered and clapped, Garcia said, “We’re going to take this challenge very seriously ... because we want to win.”

Karina Jones, Resource Development and Marketing Director at United Way of Yuma County, said that while the challenge will only be taking place during the months of October and November, they hope that it spurs the students on to continue with good attendance for the rest of the school year and in the future as well.
“Hopefully it starts a trend and educates parents too,” she said. Jones said that while they are sending information and pledge cards home for parents, their aim is to also get kids excited about coming to school. She added that her hope is that students will be reminding their parents about going to school on time, instead of the other way around.
Schools in the district, Jones said, have been having an issue with students getting to school late on Mondays and parents taking their students out early on Fridays. To help curb that issue, they will have announcements for weekly raffle prize winners on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. Winners will have to be present at school to win, she said.

In addition to having the opportunity to win weekly raffle prizes for their attendance from the United Way of Yuma County, Jones said the winning school will also be awarded $1,000 from the competition sponsor, Climatec Building Technologies Group. She said United Way of Yuma County’s goal is to expand the competition to more schools in the district in the future. United Way of Yuma County began its attendance awareness campaign at the beginning of September by recognizing the month as Attendance Awareness Month. It asked the community to join it as part of a national concentrated effort to stomp out absenteeism in schools, especially given the statistic that one out of 10 students nationwide miss 10 percent of the school year in excused and unexcused absences annually.

United Way of Yuma County reported that attendance rates are not just a concern in the junior high and high school grades. One in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students nationwide miss almost a month of school each year. Chronic absenteeism in kindergarten and in preschool can lead to lower test scores, poor attendance and retention in later grades.

Visit www.attendanceworks.org for more information about the nationwide attendance campaign.