United Way QC beginning new school attendance initiative

Published: Aug. 30, 2017 at 5:27 AM CDT
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You may be seeing yard signs exclaiming "Strive for less than 5 days absent!" around the area. On Wednesday, the United Way of the Quad Cities is kicking off a new initiative.

It's called "Strive for less than 5." The program encourages students not to miss more than five days of school.

The organization is partnering with districts and city leaders across the area, and the president of United Way says each district can implement the initiative in its own way. For example, students could sign pledges.

But organizers say--for most families--it starts with communication.

"Based on how they want to focus on this, certainly it's communication to the parents. Educating parents on it is really important to make sure your kid gets to school, especially when we're talking about the younger kids. Those aren't the kids that are skipping school. If those kids aren't in school, chances are a parent didn't get them there, and we have to stress that importance with our parents," said Scott Crane, President of the United Way of the Quad Cities.

We reached out to area districts to find out what they already do to monitor attendance. Despite a variation in a title, most schools have a designated staff member that helps keep track of attendance.

Some positions even include working with kids outside of school. For example, the Davenport school district has "attendance coaches."

"When we have attendance coaches at the intermediate and high school level that they really help students realize the importance of coming to school and the families. Because we find out when a student is late for school or doesn't come to school, so these coaches really are just that. They go out and let the family students know this is really important. What can we do in the school? How can we help? What do you need to get to school?" said Davenport Community School District Superintendent Dr. Art Tate.

United Way is kicking-off its new initiative at 8 Wednesday morning. A ceremony will be held at Frances Willard Elementary in rock island.