As second year AmeriCorps members, both Gina and I, now serving at John F. Kennedy High School, had a goal to create an interactive attendance board for students on our caseload. We really wanted it to be a fun and engaging way for students to take responsibility for their weekly progression in attendance.
In order for students to see whether or not they are improving their attendance, how missing each class affects their overall percentage, and earn incentives, we created the Attendance Emoticon-test board.
The attendance board is a visual display of students’ weekly attendance percentages for the last three weeks. Since the overall district goal is to have each student reach 95% attendance or higher, great attendance is highlighted on the board. Attendance improvement is also promoted and incentivized with rewards like gift cards and sports tickets. Last week, for example, five students were rewarded for having a 5% or higher increase in attendance during the week.
Every student on both of our caseloads is represented on the board with an emoticon, or emoji, of their choice, along with their student ID number. This helps students take a personal interest in the board and allows them to hold themselves accountable for their attendance in a fun way. We write encouraging messages for the students next to their emoji and ask that they look at the board weekly, record their personal attendance on an improvement slip, and turn it in for added accountability (and a piece of candy). The Attendance Emoticon-test board has greatly increased student awareness of their attendance and has been a huge success!
-Kalista Heiden and Gina Wrenn, AmeriCorps members