Starting this quarter students from Raleigh Schools will be recognized and rewarded for maintaining perfect attendance.
The new initiative was made possible after the county received a grant from the Beckley Area Foundation.
“We wanted to try to find the students with perfect attendance and award them for doing what we’re asking them to do,” said Patti Bryant, assistant director of attendance for Raleigh County Schools. She says she hopes the new initiative will encourage students not to miss school. “We want the students to go to school we want them to do well. Because we know that if they do not go to school then in the big world their jobs they’re not going to go to work either,” Bryant said.
Currently there are 11,640 students enrolled in Raleigh County Schools. Following each quarter students with perfect attendance will receive a certificate. They will also get an opportunity to win prizes such as wireless headphones, portable speakers and bicycles.
The idea behind the initiative is to combat a continuing problem with truancy. One in three children were considered truant in the state in 2012. That’s according to state statistics. Forty percent of juvenile court referrals were for truancy during that same time period. In 2014, Raleigh county enacted a strict attendance policy aimed at parents and students. Ultimately, parents can face charges and even jail time if their child misses more than 5 days without an excuse. Students can also be removed from their home and placed in state custody.
The new reward program is made possible through a 5-thousand dollar grant from the Beckley Area Foundation.
Foundation Executive Director Susan Landis says she hopes to give the kids more than just a piece of paper.
“This program will enable the school system to purchase some material awards that will be given to students that have perfect attendance that will supplement a certificate that they receive,” Landis said.
Next year the program is expected to expand to recognize students who improve their attendance record.