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Students To Be Recognized Through Attendance Incentive Program

Absenteeism is a big problem nationally and certainly here in Manchester, where interventions include the mailing of increasingly ominous letters to the homes of students who miss too much school.

But what about those students who have solid attendance records? Not perfect, necessarily, but decent?

Well, many of our schools are running an “attendance incentive program” that recognizes students who achieve “RA” status.

(RA stands for “regular attendance,” which is defined as attending school 95 percent of the time or more. By contrast, “CA” stands for “chronic absenteesism,” which refers to students who are absent -- whether excused or unexcused -- 10 percent or more.)

The contest is being announced through editions of the January MPS Pride Monthly newsletter, which is delivered to students pre-K to grade 6. The contest is optional for the schools but most are opting to take part.

Students who have missed five or fewer days as of the 100th school day (tentatively Feb. 3) will be given a congratulatory certificate. RA certificates will also be distributed after the 140th school day (for students with seven or fewer absences), and at the end of the year (for students who miss nine or fewer days).

Officials at Attendance Works, a highly regarded national advocacy group, says rewarding “perfect attendance” can be problematic because students who are “under the weather” sometimes come to school when they would benefit from a sick day. And while nine absences in a year might seem like a lot, officials say that -- taken as a group -- “students who attend school 95 percent of the time or more read above grade level, get higher SAT scores, and enjoy other benefits that raise the likelihood of success in school.”

For more information, check out the accompany newsletter (every school’s edition is the same except for incidental labeling)

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