Did you know that school funding in California, New York, Texas and several other states is based on attendance, rather than enrollment? The Associated Press reports that school districts can miss out on $30- $50 a day for every student that doesn’t show up. It might not sound like a lot, but senior ditch day could easily translate into a substantial funding loss for a school district.
Missing school also has immediate repercussions for students. According to a Johns Hopkins University study, chronic absenteeism increases the achievement gap and reduces graduation rates. Because of this, districts across the country are looking for innovative ways to get kids into the classroom each school day. Click through the gallery for nine of these surprising attendance-boosting tactics.
On average, over seven million kids miss school each month. Get Schooled, a New York nonprofit seeking to prevent chronic absenteeism, has launched their 2012 Fall Attendance Challenge, where students can compete and track their attendance online. The prizes for the winning school include a visit from a celebrity. Last year, Ne-Yo performed at the winning school in Seattle and even acted as principal for a day.
(Photo: D. Dipasupil/Getty Images)
A Wake-Up Call From a Celebrity
Getting a phone call early in the morning from a celebrity such as Nicki Minaj might be just the kick out of bed some students need. Get Schooled has celebs prerecord wake-up calls to motivate kids to go to school.
Elk Grove Unified School District in Sacramento, CA, is serious about their attendance. Last year, seniors with five months of perfect attendance were entered into a raffle to win a car! The winner was offered a $20,000 voucher to a local auto mall (which agreed to pay taxes and licensing fees). Would a chance at a new car get you out of bed in the morning?
(Photo: Photodisc/Getty Images)
Attendance Raffles for New Bikes and Laptops
As part of the "No Excuses—Go to School" campaign, Elk Grove Unified School District offers middle and high schoolers with a month of perfect attendance the chance to win a laptop. Elementary school kids with stellar attendance are entered into a raffle to win a new bike.
(Photo: Image Source/Getty Images)
More School! What?!
Pomona Unified School District in Southern California added optional Saturday school for students. The four-hour program was an opportunity for kids to catch up if they had fallen behind. Over the course of a year, the district recouped $1 million in state funding.
(Photo: Holloway/Getty Images)
Leveraging Social Media
When it comes to engaging students and parents, some schools are turning to Facebook. With school pages, educators and administrators are hoping to build a community and make sure parents are aware of what's going on at their kid's school.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Many schools in New York and Los Angeles are turning to City Year and other mentorship programs to solve their attendance woes. In-class tutoring, mentoring, and after-school programs help to focus kids on school and provide another person to check in on them.
(Photo: City Year)
Pledge not to miss
Spreckels Unified School District in Salinas, CA, asked parents to pledge not to take vacations or schedule routine doctor's appointments while school is in session.
(Photo: Mark Burnett/Getty Images)
Show up sick and then go home
Some California school districts ask parents to bring their kids to school sick. By showing up to be counted, the district gets paid and the kids can go right back home to get better. This may not be the best for stopping the spread of germs, but it helps attendance numbers.
Andrew Freeman is a California native with a degree in history from UCLA. He’s covered a wide range of topics for TakePart, but is particularly interested in politics and policy. Email Andrew |@natureofdabeast | TakePart.com