Weekly Message from Superintendent Hess

January 2, 2018

Today is the first school day of the new year, and in four short weeks, we will be half way through the 2017-2018 school year. We have had a big focus this year on attendance, and it shows. Regular attendance rates at all of our schools are on the rise. Our efforts are paying off. Regular attendance is defined as coming to school at least 90% of the school days. Students who miss no more than one day of school per month are regular attenders. Research and experience teaches us that when a student attends school regularly, their chance of passing all of their classes and being successful for the next grade is much greater than students who do not attend regularly. Believe it or not, regular attendance is a greater predictor of school success than test scores or just about any other factor.

We should not be surprised that just “showing up” is so important, but it is. Turns out that showing up is something all of us can and should do. Woody Allen even said, “Showing up is 80% of life.” I think he is 100% right.

At the high school this year we have leveraged Measure 98 dollars to implement an attendance team. The “A Team” is comprised of one teacher and four assistants. Their goal is to provide support, accountability, and incentives to help students “show up” every day and help families to know how important attendance is to their child’s success. The regular attendance rate last year at LHS was 63%—one of the lowest among high schools in the state. The rate is up this year close to 70%, and we are hopeful the rate will keep improving as we continue to focus on the importance of showing up every day and put in place meaningful accountability measures, supports, and incentives that will make a difference.

As we wind around the corner for the final push to the end of the first semester, we hope to finish strong and make January 2018 our best attendance month so far this year.