During the 2017-2018 school year, the Arkansas Community Foundation provided mini-grants to seven schools to enhance ongoing or new efforts to reduce chronic absence that are a part of a school’s or district’s overall chronic absence reduction plan.
Yellville Summit School district focused its attendance efforts primarily on school-wide prevention strategies through a broad communications effort to students and parents. Letters and flyers were sent home to parents detailing the importance of attending school every day. Continued emphasis of the school every day message was included in parent newsletters and through social media posts. The elementary school partnered with their school-based health center to send information home about when to keep a child home and when to send them to school.
To help incentivize good attendance, the schools implemented grade level competitions and rewarded classrooms with movie and popcorn day. They also held drawings for prizes for students with perfect or improved attendance. These strategies paid off for Yellville who achieved a drop in chronic absence from 12 percent in 2016-17 to nine percent in 2017-28.