Making School Irrestible!

Making School Irrestible!
Successful School Culture Through Attendance
by: Susan Denton, Principal (TK-5)


We know that coming to school everyday is essential for students to progress in their academic success. But how do we get students who are reluctant to attend to want to come to school everyday, and how do we impress upon parents who were not successful in schools themselves, to encourage daily attendance for their children?


Our answer is make learning fun and make everyday one that students would not want to miss! How students feel at school can have a direct correlation to their willingness or reluctance to attend everyday. When students feel loved, supported, and valued, we know they are more apt and excited to come daily. As our TK-5 school has implemented these strategies over the past four years, we have seen a significant growth in student daily attendance percentages and a dramatic decrease in chronic absenteeism.


Here are a few ideas to get students to WANT to come to school everyday:


Create School Spirit Days

We have created one day per month as “Dress-Up” days where the students and staff dress as a theme. Staff may enjoy these days more than students! There are so many themes schools can use. We find that our attendance percentages increase on our dress-up days.  Here are few we have found to very successful with student and staff participation.


September - International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Pirate Dress-Up)
October - County Fair Day (Western Wear Dress-Up) Halloween (Favorite Book Character Dress-Up)
November - Veteran’s Day (Camo/Patriotic Dress-Up)
December - Winter Holidays (Warm PJ Dress-Up; Who-ville Dr. Seuss Day; Ugliest
Sweater)
January - Superbowl (Sports Jersey Dress-Up)
February - Valentine’s Day (Wear Red Dress-Up)
March - St. Patrick’s Day (Wear Green Dress-Up), Dr. Seuss' Birthday
April - State Testing Month (Superhero Dress-Up), April Flowers (Flower-Power Dress-Up)
May - May-the-Fourth-Day (Star Wars Dress-Up); Cinco-de-Mayo
June - Year-End Celebrations (Aloha/Hawaiian Dress-Up)


And, of course, Fridays are school colors days. Staff may dress more casual on this day each week and all staff and students are encouraged to wear school colors. We find that this creates a stronger sense of school pride and community on the campus.


Reward good attendance!

  1. Recognize  Perfect Attendance each quarter &  at year-end awards.
  • Students earn certificates and incentives (such as attendance dog-tags) for having perfect attendance during a quarter
  • Students earn certificates and are recognized at the year-end awards assemblies for having perfect attendance


  1. Play Attendance Classroom Bingo:
  • Track each day the class has 100% attendance on 100’s chart  (use small post-its, stickers, dry-erase marker)
  • Make a “BINGO” across, down, diagonal
  • Notify Admin for class prize. Admin brings a prize to the class (pencils, stickers, erasers, bracelets, dog tags, etc.)
  • Prizes get better each BINGO!
  • 10th BINGO = Class party (100 days perfect attendance demands a celebration!)
  • Takes a class photo for the “Attendance Hall of Fame” wall in the cafeteria or other public place
  • Track Bingos in a public place (chart, tally, etc)


    3. Weekly Grade Level Attendance Winners:
  • Weekly top attendance percentage per grade level
  • Earns a small trophy to keep in the classroom (Oriental Trading has great inexpensive trophies)
  • Weekly winners are posted in a public place (i.e. Week #1 Winners!)
  • Takes a photo for the “Attendance Hall of Fame” wall


    4. Monthly Classroom of the Month:
  • Groupings:  TK/K, 1-2, 3-5
  • Class per grouping with best overall attendance data for the month
  • Class per grouping with best overall behavior data for the month
  • Earns a large travelling trophy (Used year after year)
  • Earns “Cookies & Milk” class party (coordinate date with admin/kitchen)
  • Hang class banner in the office for the month
  • Takes a photo for the “Attendance Hall of Fame” wall


Ultimately, we want students at school.  While our focus is always academic growth and success, we want to remember to create a school environment that students just can’t resist! School should be an exciting and wonderful place to be and these fun activities help drive that idea.

Make your school irresistible, make it fun! Work hard, play hard!

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