Oquirrh Hills makes every day count! Thirty schools in Granite School District are actively participating in the “Every Day Counts” initiative to make sure that kids are attending school and reduce chronic absenteeism. Oquirrh Hills ranks 10th (as of January) and attendance is up 3 percent from last year. Students can’t learn if they aren’t in school, so even just 3 percent makes a big difference.
Oquirrh Hills has deployed several strategies to combat chronic absence, including a big push for attendance awareness. Talking to students about the importance of being at school is crucial. If they are late or absent it can affect the entire class, and students and parents need to understand how serious chronic absenteeism can be. Oquirrh Hills also had posters littering the hallways outlining how missing even a few days, regardless of if they have been excused, can put students behind or at-risk for academic failure.
For students who are already chronically absent, the “Mentoring for Success” program has been helping to get them back on track. Of the 28 students who were identified in September as being moderately to severely chronically absent, missing up to 20 percent or more total school days, only 17 are still chronically absent. Several of the 17 remaining students have been paired with high school students from the Kearns High Latinos in Action program to serve as mentors and perform check-ins with the students. During check-ins, these LIA students get to know their student, and are given opportunities to let their students know they care. The idea is that children feel that their mentor would miss them if they aren’t in school, and give them a reason to attend beyond academics.
In addition to these strategies, a school-wide contest is in full swing. Each classroom has a goal to spell a series of words. Each day when every student attends class, they earn a letter towards the word. After spelling their first word, “BRAVO,” each classroom earns a piñata, provided by our parents in the Family Center. Each word after that earns them a treat for their piñata that they will be able to enjoy at the end of the year!
We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we have some great ideas already in the works for next year about how to spread the word that EVERYDAY COUNTS!