11 Closing the Gap Narrative
Cozy Lake Elementary school has a computer system known as Reatlime. It is an accurate and effective way to collect data on each student in each grade during the school year. It tracks attendance, as well as the reasons for absences. School reports through Realitme were the major contributing factor for choosing this goal as the closing the gap goal. Reports displayed the amount of unexcused absences by students in first and second grade. I was able to print out which students in these grades who had 7 or more unexcused absences in the year 2015- 2016. This information allowed me to set the goal to decrease these numbers. Nine students were the students who would be the focus. Their total amount of absences was one-hundred twenty-eight.
My administrator and I discussed improvement plans to help alleviate the higher number of absences. We collaboratively met about absenteeism throughout the year. We met to keep track of students’ unexcused absences. When we felt they were raising in numbers, we would call parents and/ or have conferences with them to encourage them to bring their children to school.
The interventions were chosen based on the age of the population I work with. I decided that communication and accountability were key in promoting school attendance. This is true for both students and parents. I formed the monthly group, called School Spirit group with the nine students. We met and discussed ways to address school attendance, such as morning routines, implications in those routines that deter the students from coming to school and how to deal with them, and why it is important to come to school each day. The students also felt empowered by posting posters around the school to promote a positive school atmosphere.
For accountability, I posted a weekly check-in poster outside my door. Each day the students would arrive off of the bus and put a check next to their name. After five checks, they would come to me for a reward of either extra recess or a choice from our school prize box. The students really felt proud when they earned their five days of perfect attendance each week.
Data results clearly showed a correlation between attendance and group participation/ daily check-ins. The numbers went down significantly for unexcused absences when the school spirit group was put into effect.
The ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors that were focused on in this goal were for students to have self confidence in their ability to succeed and a positive attitude toward work and learning. It is important to have the students have the mindset of independent problem solving. They need to see that their choices and actions relate to their success.
Data results help in reflecting up on how i addressed the unexcused absences and the need for greater school attendance. I was able to see that my efforts with this group of students were in fact positive in results. Keeping in routine communication with the group and encouraging daily check-ins were a big part of the success seen. In looking forward to future plans, I would like to use the age difference that I work with to help foster more positive views to school. I would like to use the second graders to come in and work with the first graders to help promote school attendance and encourage successful morning routines.