Alaska school district launches campaign to boost attendance
Aug. 27, 2018
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has launched a new campaign in an effort to boost student attendance.
Superintendent Karen Gaborik appears in 30-second video clips in parents' Facebook feeds, urging them to send their children to school every day, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .
Officials want to improve the attendance rate from 92 percent to 95 percent, or fewer than 10 absences per student per year, according to the district's website.
"Students that have higher attendance rates tend to have higher achievement," said Ellis Ott, senior research analyst for the district.
The average attendance rate for districts across Alaska is 93 percent.
The school district also is running radio ads and has revamped its attendance webpage.
About $5,000 has been spent on the campaign, according to Heather Rauenhorst, executive director of the Department of Communications, Development and Engagement.
"It just seemed like a good time to come out with really positive messaging," Rauenhorst said. "We've known for a long time that attendance is a key component, is the No. 1 predictor, of academic success."
Students missing just two days of school per month are more likely to fall behind in school and less likely to graduate, according to the U.S. Department of Education, which created a campaign around school attendance in partnership with the Ad Council.
About 10 percent of students in grades 7-12 in the Fairbanks district attend school less than 80 percent of the time and are 14 times more likely to drop out, according to the school district website.
They also reportedly earn grades that are at least a full letter grade below their peers.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com