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Friday, October 22, 2010

Show Up To Show Off

We've been focusing on improving our attendance rate among learners. If we don't "show up" we can't hope to improve our performance levels and subsequently "show off." This area of measurement was one of the points addressed during the secondary grade level assembly back on the second day of school (see Blog of  September 9, 2010 "The Scoreboard"). At that meeting, we drew attention to the fact our average daily attendance rate was below that of the other school districts we compete with in athletics. It did not go unnoticed that we also lagged behind in nearly all of the academic areas when compared with these same schools.

Soon thereafter, a number was posted throughout the school without any reference to its meaning. Then, a week later another figure was placed beneath the first number. Eventually, after hopefully arousing curiosity and attention, it was announced over the school intercom system that the posted numbers represented our average daily attendance for each of the first two weeks of the school year. We have to keep our goal in mind and also provide benchmarks to gauge our progress or lack thereof.

It's difficult to keep up with the learning program and maintain success if you miss class. Individual attendance rate may also be perceived as a reflection of one's commitment, dependability and sense of responsibility. Interestingly, these same characteristics not only combine to reveal attitude, but they also contribute a great deal to success in whatever work one may engage in later as an adult. It's an important message and a critical goal.

We'll continue to monitor the attendance rate and hope that decreasing absences will lead to a discovery that achievement levels will rise to demonstrate a positive impact on performance. Study after study reaffirms the obvious and intuitive relationship between the attendance rate of a learner and their learning rate. Comedian and movie director Woody Allen once wryly suggested that, "Eighty percent of success is just showing up." While I wouldn't claim it in such simple terms, I would agree that showing up is certainly a start in the right direction. That's where we need to go at Heatly - in the right direction. And that begins with measuring attendance and reinforcing our collective commitment to learning.

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