As students return to the classroom for a new school year, regular school attendance is not only important so students don’t fall behind in their studies and receive poor grades.
A higher attendance rate also means more money received by school districts in general state aid.
Lansing Elementary School District 158 in Illinois is set to receive over $650,000 in additional state aid after it saw its daily average attendance rate increase from 2,269 students to 2,390 students last school year.
D.158 Business Manager Mark Crotty said a district’s three highest months determine the attendance rate and the state contributes an extra $5,400 per student.
Attendance in D.158 spiked last year after it implemented a perfect attendance incentive program.
Students who did not miss school in February and March qualified to win a bicycle in each of the district’s five schools.
A total of 10 bikes were given away, at a cost of no more than $100 each.
Crotty said attendance figures in the district had not been so high since 2006.
D.158 Superintendent Cecilia Heiberger said the idea for the program came from Crotty.
“I thought, why not?,’ Heiberger said. “Let’s try some things to increase our attendance, because I’d love to have a 100 percent of our kids every single day for the next 175 days.”
Heiberger said D.158 will definitely continue an attendance incentive program, but she is not sure if the incentive will be bicycles each year.
Dolton Elementary School District 149 Superintendent Shelly Davis-Jones said she never heard of a bike incentive program like the one in D.158, but she likes the idea.
“What a great incentive,” she said. “And, also, what a great way to foster health and wellness for our children.”
Students who qualify attend a brief assembly in which parents are invited to watch their children receive certificates of recognition.