R-H begins new attendance incentive

Published 1:46 pm Monday, July 22, 2019

Randolph-Henry High School (R-H) is rolling out a new attendance incentives program for the upcoming school term in hopes of keeping more students in the classroom.

“So the department of education is cracking down on attendance, and it’s now something that’s tied to school accreditation,” said R-H Assistant Principal Erin Davis. “So schools are having to take a really hard look at attendance and truancy and put some measures in place to make sure that our students are coming to school regularly. One of the  things that we’re trying to do is create incentives for students who do come to school regularly.”

According to Davis, the school also has in place a system to address students who do not come to class on a regular basis and miss the more than average amount of days. “We have a procedure in place for that, but we also wanted to reward good attendance,” she added.

Davis went on to say that for each grading period, students who have two or fewer absences will be invited to take part in a particular activity and that the reward system will reset every nine weeks. “This means if a student gets the flu the first nine weeks and misses a lot of days they are still eligible to participate the second nine weeks,” said Davis.

R-H Assistant Principal Chris Holt noted that this new program is different from the school’s perfect attendance reward.

“We still do that,” he said. “But we know not all students can reach perfect attendance, so this program gives students a chance to reset every nine weeks and be apart.”

If students meet the new attendance marks, they will be treated to a variety of activities according to school administrators. “For the first nine weeks we’re going to end in October, and so we’re going to have an outdoor spooky movie night kind of a Halloween theme,” said Davis. “We’re going to blow up a big inflatable outdoor screen, show a movie and have popcorn and pizza. We will also do a prize raffle for students.”

Holt added that he felt this new way of giving incentives to students was different than most other incentives that may be given out. “We tried to really be intentional about it,” said Holt. “What will make that kid say I’m coming to school because I want to be a part of that? I’ve got some absences so if I don’t miss today and I get up and go I’m still in the running for that nice thing at the end of this nine weeks.”

Other incentives for students will include, Subway lunches, free Lynchburg Hill Cats game nights and picnics at Occonneechee and Staunton River State Park.

“The attendance part of this is necessary, but what we want to do is get kids excited when they come back this year,” added Holt.

According to school officials, R-H has cut their truancy rate from 38 percent to 19 percent in the past year. “We’re trying to do something to keep kids motivated to be here,” said Davis.