The Cortland Enlarged City School District is committed to high levels of learning for all students. In order for students to access a guaranteed and viable curriculum, students must be in school as often as possible. In each of our buildings we are ensuring that our students come to school every day. Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Students who miss a lot of school are less likely to be proficient readers. Math suffers, too. Even high school graduation in negatively impacted when you miss school. The stakes are high! Therefore, interventions are immediately put in place to when students are absent beyond the occasional illness.
At Randall Elementary School, Social Worker Lois Creighton and Nurse Ann Mares review attendance data daily. They look to see which students may be developing a pattern of missing school or regularly being tardy. Also, every ten school days, Mrs. Creighton looks to see which students are below 90% attendance and reports the findings to her Principal Mr. Kostuk, who then determines whether a letter, phone call, or home visit might be in order to address the attendance issue. In addition, weekly attendance rates for classrooms are posted so students can see how their entire classroom is doing attendance-wise.
At Parker Elementary, Principal Joshua Bacigalupi greets students daily. He feels that, “a personal connection to students is important for increasing attendance.” At the all school morning program each day, classes with 100% attendance are announced and applauded by the students and staff. At the end of the school year, students with good attendance are awarded a certificate. Mr. Bacigalupi, Nurse Julie Neuman, and Social Worker Linda Kirsch work together with families to ensure that all students attend school regularly. The team develops relationships with families and works with families to remove barriers and obstacles that keep students from attending school.
John Zarcone, Principal of the Senior High School (grades 11 & 12), has implemented programs to increase attendance. Mr. Zarcone and the administrative team at the High School know that students want to come to school if they feel valued and comfortable. The staff at the high school are making every effort to build relationships with students by sharing experiences and having conversations. This ranges from short interactions in the hallway to sitting down with a student and having a formal meeting. The implementation of the Positivity Project is going to have an impact on attendance as well. There are posters and positive sayings all over the school building including the bathrooms. Students know that they are in a place where people care about them and their education is valued. The entire building is committed to the mission statement; Every Student, Every Day. Inspire, Respect, Engage.