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RMS promotes perfect attendance

When it comes to ensuring student success in school, the first crucial step is making sure the student is consistently present in the classroom, prioritizing attendance and avoiding all but the most necessary absences. To this end, Russellville Middle School has been observing Attendance Awareness Month this September, in conjunction with the state initiative.

The month of attendance-centric activities was a joint idea between Principal Karen Thorn and new guidance counselor Leah Lockett. Lockett comes to RCS from Tuscumbia City Schools, and she is eager to introduce several new programs through the guidance office this year – starting with Attendance Awareness Month. “It’s been a good way for the kids to get to know me since I’m new,” Lockett said.

Each week of the month has featured new projects and activities designed to focus on the importance of good attendance, including short student-created videos, unique signage, a parent letter and attendance statistics posted on social media. Last week, students participated in a poster contest to create art encouraging good attendance, and three winning posters were selected.

Last year Magdalena Francisco, seventh grade, was recognized for missing only one day of school. This achievement inspired and motivated her to compete in the poster contest – in which she took first place. “This year I am trying for perfect attendance because every day you learn something new,” she said.

Third place winner Morgan Jenkins, seventh grade, based her poster concept off popular Disney-Pixar movie Inside-Out. On the importance of attendance, Jenkins wanted to share with her classmates that “they need to try to come to school every day because every day counts.”

Sixth grade second place winner Kate Grissom drew a classroom full of classmates with perfect attendance. “Everyone needs to come to school so they can learn more than they already know,” Kate said.

Classes are also competing for good attendance, with competitive spirit mounting amongst the teachers. Lockett said in the month of September, 386 students have perfect attendance, out of a total enrollment of 530. In the last week of the month, students will receive awards and prizes for their perfect attendance and also get the chance to enjoy dress-up days and other celebratory activities.