The Denver Public Schools AmeriCorps program has been diligently working with our targeted schools to impact the low attendance rates at the DPS schools where our AmeriCorps members are present. AmeriCorps members are making a strong impression at their respective school sites, which is well exemplified with the following interview with Joel Buckhout, one of the AmeriCorps members at North High School in Northwest Denver:
“I have been heavily involved with the Daily Attendance Check-In campaign at North High School through the AmeriCorps Community Engagement initiative in the Denver Public School system. I am pleased to say that our work with this campaign has yielded some very positive results.
When I started in October, my colleague Alvie and I were working with a list of 15 students whose attendance was very near the margin for truancy intervention. We required them to check in with us in the library after first or second period. We were having very little impact. We would rarely have more than 2 students check in on any given day. By the middle of December, Alvie, myself, and our site supervisor (Parent and Community Engagement Specialist), Terri Davalos, decided to change our strategy.
We created a new list of 30 students whose attendance was no more than 10 points below 90 percent, the standard for all North Students, and started conducting check-ins right inside the main entrance before first period. By targeting these students and making contact with them immediately when they arrived, we believed we could provide better accountability and positive reinforcement to encourage them to reach the attendance standard. Our results show that we have been successful.
Of the 29 students with whom we have continued to work, 11 have elevated their attendance above the 90 percent standard up to the present time. 11 more have shown consistent, measureable improvement since they started the check in program.
We can see our efforts reflected in virtually every student we have made contact with, even the ones who are still struggling with attendance issues. We hope that we can use this model to continue to have a positive impact. We are currently targeting 30 new students who we feel would benefit from this type of intervention.”