BPS has plan to boost attendance

District addresses attendance issues

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Public School district has a plan to boost attendance across the board, and it includes incentives for students.

School leaders were briefed on the district's attendance improvement strategy Wednesday night.

"Each school has the responsibility of making sure that they are working to improve their attendance," says Associate Superintendent for Student Support Services Eric Jay Rosser.

Rosser says overall attendance increased roughly by two percentage points last year.

During in the 2014-15 school year, the district average for chronically absent students was 27-percent.

The school board is expected to vote on the district's new attendance policy in late October, but Rosser says attendance improvement strategies are already being put in place. You'll soon see 500 lawn signs and 750 posters go up in neighborhoods where students who miss the most school live to inform the community about the importance of education.

And, quarterly and annual incentive programs will reward children who have perfect attendance.
Students would earn points every day they go to school. They would then enter a lottery to win prizes funded by the city through the Say Yes program.

"We're also looking to incentivize attendance with partnering with Say Yes with identifying ways in which we can identify those things that children like such as iPads, such as Apple Watches, or whatever.  We want to sort of go out to our student population to get their input on things that they would like," says Rosser.

Rosser says local politicians are working with district as well.

"Recording what we call pep calls where they will get online, record a message, those messages will go out to homes where students may have perfect attendance or students who may have not so perfect attendance to really enforce the importance of school attendance," Rosser says.


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