‘Attendance Counts’ a team effort at Gladstone Elementary School

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Good school attendance is a group effort at Gladstone Elementary School, and last week’s “Attendance Counts” assemblies showed that.

Principal Susan Buonanno gathered her staff and students in the auditorium for multiple grade level assemblies in order to discuss with them just how important it is to be in school every day, on time. Guest speaker Dr. Rosemary Burns, head of the district’s data team and attendance task force, was there to emphasize the point as well.

At the assemblies, students were given an “Attendance Counts” contract, which states what everyone’s responsibilities – students, parents, guardians and educators – are in working together toward great student attendance. According to Buonanno, attendance will have both rewards and consequences this year. Students will be congratulated at the class level every day for great attendance, and positive initiatives will be in place to reward individual students as well. Quarterly, students will be given a book for perfect attendance, and there will be end-of-the-year rewards in June. Tardy Talk Groups are being established to talk about helping and supporting families with excessive tardiness during the year, and consequences such as after school detention for five unexcused late arrivals to school will be enforced.

“We really want to present a united message, that we care, the kids’ teachers all care, and their parents care,” Buonanno said. “We want our students to start their positive school habits now.”

As she spoke to her students, Buonanno talked to them about the things they’d miss at school if they were even just a few minutes late in the morning.

“You’ll miss a lot of instruction,” she said. “We want you to be here every day, on time, as long as you’re well.”

Burns spoke to the students about her own days as a school-age child, remembering back to her favorite parts of the school day.

“I loved coming to school. I loved learning to read, and as I learned to read, my imagination got bigger and bigger and bigger,” she said. “After a while, after coming to school every day, there was nothing I couldn’t imagine being able to do.”

Burns told the students that they, too, would have endless possibilities by attending school on time, every day.

“You can be the boss of you,” she said. “Tell your parents how important it is to come to school on time, every day. Tell them, ‘I need to be on time.’”

At the end of her talk with the students, Burns asked them all to raise their right hands and take an attendance pledge along with her. Each child stated their name and pledged to try to be in school, on time, every day.

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