Count Week attendance yields added benefits

Teachers across the Dayton Public School District, and across Ohio, will be taking attendance and checking it twice next week as Ohio schools observe Count Week; during the first full week in October, the state uses daily student attendance to determine the level of state funding each district will receive for the 2007-2008 school year.

“We focus a great deal of attention on Count Week, because there is much at stake.  Poor attendance impacts our students academically, and during Count Week, it affects them financially as well,” Superintendent Percy Mack said. “The state funds we receive as a result of our student attendance support classroom instruction and help us provide quality educational opportunities for the students we serve.”

The district stands to lose an average of $6,000 for each unexcused student absence during the week of Oct. 1 through 5.

Principals and classroom teachers will offer incentives that include “dress down” days at uniform schools, spirit weeks, pizza parties, and imaginative challenges from principals.  In years past, principals have shaved their heads, been covered with cream pies, and even have spent a day on the roof of their school when students broke Count Week attendance records.

Educators hope students and their parents realize the importance of good attendance throughout the school year.  When students are not in school, they are not receiving instruction.  Students who are chronically or habitually absent are not likely to leave school with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue further education or enter a competitive workforce. A student who misses 15 days of school each year over 12 years has missed the equivalent of a full year of school.