Palmer High- December

Principal's Post

Taking a Deep Look at the Impact of Attendance

This school year the MSBSD has dedicated Monday mornings for Professional Learning Community (PLC) time. This is my 27th year in education, all of which have been in the Mat-Su. A common thought that has been shared throughout the years has been, 'there is never enough time work with colleagues.' As a teacher you often feel like you work in a silo with one wave of twenty-five to thirty students after another. Like waves tend to be in nature, they can pound you down and leave you with the feeling of treading water and striving to keep up with the next wave. Having dedicated time to collaborate with colleagues and focus on student learning has been beneficial.

Over the last few weeks Palmer High's staff has been focusing on student achievement and finding correlation to attendance. It's no secret that student achievement and attendance go hand in hand. I've written updates in the past about the topic. The National Center for Education Statistics have extensive peer reviewed studies that affirm the correlations of attendance and student achievement. A recent study identified trends of high absenteeism and high drop out rates. Poor attendance in the 8th and 9th grade is the greatest variable leading to dropping out.

The pandemic has changed attendance. Pre-pandemic absenteeism would hover around ten percent. Now we hover closer to thirty percent. The number of students that need credit recovery has also grown. For many, attendance has become optional. There is a different mentality with a larger population of students than what we've experienced in years past. We have evolved and adapted to meet students needs by providing learning management systems (LMS) aka, google classrooms, where students can access assignments from their Chromebooks. This provides great access to all students in a class, and students that are doing well certainly benefit from the access, however it enables students to make attending optional.

The key point I want to emphasize is that the learning and the experience of being in class is absolutely what is best for students. Logging in and mailing in work does not lead to the learning we are striving for in classes. If these words resonate with you because your student has poor attendance, please share this message with your students. Teachers are sharing their concerns about attendance with the students that are habitually absent . There is also the aspect of establishing good work habits. Full time students should treat school like their job. They are developing work ethic and good habits by showing up on time and on a regular basis. It's what their future employers want and need.

We are entering the final stretch of the semester. It's a critical time to finish strong and earn credit for their first semester classes. Thank you for doing your part to help improve student attendance.

Principal Reid

Example of Grading Data Correlation of Grades to Absences

Averages_________________________ Medians:

A= 3.38 absences _______________A = 3 absences

B = 3.61 absences _______________B = 3 absences

C = 4.91 absences_______________C = 3 absences

D = 6.17 absences________________D = 7 absences

F = 17.7 absences _______________F = 19 absences

*This data is taken from a core class to show the correlation of student achievement to absences.

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IB -CAS Project

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program has a mission of developing well rounded students. For an IB student striving for the IB diploma one of the required projects is known as a CAS project. The acronym stands for Creativity, Activity, and Service.

To provide an example and promote an upcoming CAS project, I will share more information about Soup Night. There are three IB diploma candidates working together on this project. It began with pottery. A home project that began with learning how to throw pottery. That builds an inventory of bowls. It was the genesis of the idea of Soup Night. The IB art students applied the glaze to give the bowls a beautiful finish, and ready for soup.

The culmination of the project will transpire as Soup Night on Tuesday, December 13th at Palmer High. All proceeds will go to the Palmer Food Bank. There will be an assortment of soups and for the first 80 attendees the homemade bowl is yours to keep. The students organizing the event are still looking for silent auction items and trivia prizes.

If you are interesting in donating items contact Palmer High at 746-8400.

Finals schedule Wk December 19th-23rd

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