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Weekly Spotlight 10-26-18 DO/RHS

Michelle Murphy, Superintendent, Rim of the World Unified School District

School is in session, and students are expected to be in class every day

(Blue Jay, Calif.) Rim of the World Unified School District is ramping up its efforts to communicate to families the importance of getting students to school–even during the upcoming holiday season.

Officials are implementing a new early warning and intervention system that tracks student attendance and sends letters home to families when their child is trending toward being chronically absent.

Superintendent Michelle Murphy said the letters will go out in a timely manner, to all the families who need them.

“With the holiday season coming up, we want to remind parents that poor attendance has regularly been a problem in the days leading up to and following a holiday,” Murphy said. “The more our kids are in school, the more they learn, and the better they achieve now and in the future.”

There is no question that children who regularly miss school are far less likely to succeed in the classroom. Research has long shown that students who are chronically absent are likely to have lower test scores and limited proficiency in both reading and math. Even as early as sixth grade, chronic absenteeism has been identified as an indicator that a student will later drop out of high school.

California defines chronic absenteeism as missing 10 percent or more of the typical 180-day school year, or the equivalent of at least one month of school. And it only takes missing about two days each month during the school year to reach that threshold.

It’s no secret that Rim of the World officials have been battling poor attendance trends in recent years–district data shows a truancy rate of 42 percent during the 2015-16 school year and a 19 percent chronic absence rate in the 2016-17 school year.

But Murphy said school leaders are hopeful that Attention2Attendance (A2A) will help them get a better handle on attendance in the district. The early warning and intervention system not only tracks student attendance but also sends letters home to families in their home language when their child is trending toward being chronically absent.

Murphy said it will take the burden of crafting and mailing letters off of staff who are then free to work with the parents and students.

“A2A will help us provide regular reminders for parents and students, lessen the workload our employees face, and ultimately will improve student achievement, Murphy said. “We’re happy to have this partnership as we work together to improve attendance.”
David Nygren, Principal, Rim of the World High School

The RHS debate team took third place last weekend in their tournament in Claremont out of 8 schools, 28 teams, and 80 debaters.  What an achievement for our debate team!

RHS PTSA has adopted the goal of beautification of the campus, and while the outside of the school will be painted in the spring, we have started painting the inside hallways the school colors.  Students, parents, staff, and community are involved with the painting that is happening after school and on Saturdays for the next month until it is finished.  The students, parents, and staff voted to paint using the school colors of blue, gray, and white, and after we have a base coat, we will be adding positive slogans and some school flair and pride.

A large collective of our students have revived the old student newspaper, The Scots’ Scroll, and produced their first issue, completely written, formatted, and edited by students with help from a staff advisor.  They are now going to be working with one of the Mountain News reporters to write for the newspaper.  Some of the Fighting Scots have now become the “Writing Scots.”