Middle schoolers get special privileges for new perfect attendance program

Permission to chew gum in class, to skip one pre-approved homework assignment and free entry to the district’s athletics events are just some of the privileges associated with Fonda-Fultonville Middle School’s new perfect attendance incentive program.

Middle schoolers who had perfect attendance during the 2016-17 school year were honored during the first day celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Each student who earned perfect attendance during the 2016-17 school year was given a “Brave Badge” with their name, picture and a lanyard that says “Every Day Matters at FFCS.” Students can show their badges to gain free entry at athletics events, and get up to $2 in free snacks at school dances. They were also given coupon books for other perks.

The students who were honored are Roger Boyer, Jayden Hansen, Evan Flood, Ayden Frederick, Heath Anderson Port, Megan Carpenter, Natalia Mauro, Markus Swiderski, Elizabeth Vosburgh, Logan LaPlant, Kiera Muselbeck, Ava Sanford-Hutchinson, Jordan Chatwin, Vincent Raimo, Marlena Kretser, Ty Sanges, Colleen Chest, Kaitlyn Stearns and Kyle Kretser.

The badges are valid for the next 10 weeks. A whole new set of Brave Badges will be issued to students who have perfect attendance during the first quarter, and so on and so forth.

The initiative was started as part of the district-wide effort to reduce chronic absenteeism, which is described as missing 10 percent of the school year — or 18 days — for any reason, excused or unexcused. That’s the point at which absenteeism begins to affect student performance. The research is clear: Students who attend school regularly are able to learn more, have fewer discipline problems, develop better study habits and often are more successful than students who do not.

“There are so many benefits to having good attendance at school, and the Brave Badge program is a great way to encourage and recognize our students who are here working hard every day,” Middle School Principal David Zadoorian said. “Hopefully this will motivate everyone to try their best to do the same.”

The district ramped up efforts to heighten awareness about the importance of regular school attendance starting in the 2016-17 school year. The initiative was successful in reducing year-to-year chronic absenteeism by approximately 26 percent for the entire district.