Posted: Dec 12, 2012 2:10 PM by Janine Reyes
Updated: Dec 12, 2012 8:08 PM
ROBSTOWN -- You don't normally associate prizes and raffles with school attendance. But, Robstown High School is willing to give it a try if it means they'll have fuller classrooms.
Right now they're averaging 88% attendance, the state average is 94%.
"Whatever it takes," Robstown Principal Richard Waterhouse told us when talking about trying unorthodox ways to get his students back to school. He tells us he's battling the same problem that many high schools across the nation are facing - students who just don't want to come to school.
With 777 students enrolled, their most recent attendance falls just below 90%, it was as low as 88%. For Waterhouse, that's too many students not learning. "If we say 10% are out, that's around 77-80 students that are out on any given day, I'd love to cut that in half,"
They've tried cutting that in half by enforcing the traditional negative consequences, there is truancy court, failing, of course, and parent education. The school has held two meetings this year hoping to get parents to help out. "Those kinds of meetings really help," explained Waterhouse, "we say here is the attendance history, and here's the impact on grades." The simple fact is, those meetings have just not helped enough. Only two parents attended the last meeting.
Now, its time to find other ways to fill these halls.
Try a chance to win one of two stereo systems, or how about cold hard cash? Fifty dollar gift cards are for grabs, compliments of Coastal Community Teacher's Credit Union. The cosmetology department at the high school is also helping out, giving away 10 free pedicures and manicures, which also gives the cosmetology students internship hours they need. Chicken dinners and perfect attendance don't normally go hand in hand, but because Barrera's Fried Chicken donated the school several of their dinners, children who attend for a full week with perfect attendance are eligible to win 4 chicken dinners.
All prizes are being raffled to students who have perfect attendance either for the week or for the full 6 weeks.
But, there is, of course, a bigger reward to be had with perfect attendance.
"Its going to impact their ability to pass an end of course test, for sure," Waterhouse told us.
The prizes are all local business donations.
Waterhouse says they'll continue to run the program for as long as it takes to get students in classrooms and learning.
They're also working to make the curriculum more appealing to students.
If you'd like to donate to get kids in the classroom, you can call Waterhouse at 387-5999, ext. 3407.
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