Paige Swan could see the results of his attendance push when he asked all the students with perfect attendance to come to the front of the auditorium: 103 students rose and stood proudly beside the principal at the June assembly.
Then he asked for students with one or two missed days to come forward. Most of the student body at his rural California elementary school was standing at the front of room. In a single year, the average daily attendance rate at Smith River Elementary School rose from 94 to 98 percent. And the chronic absence rate fell from about 8 percent to below 6 percent.
“We’ve made it a school-wide priority,” Swan says. “We had a plan, we followed the plan, and at the end of the school year we analyzed the plan. Our plan worked.”