San Diego Unified’s GAME On! (Good Attendance Means Everything) 9th Grade Attendance Initiative has seen success in its first year. Five participating schools: Mission Bay, Morse, Kearny Science Connections & Technology, Crawford Invention & Design Educational Academy and San Diego High School of Communication Investigations in a Multicultural Atmosphere, have increased their combined average 9th grade attendance rate over the year by more than 1%, doubling the .5% rate of improvement set by Superintendent Terry Grier as a district goal.
Students are being recognized for their school attendance as an important step on the road to graduation and becoming productive members of the community. Research shows that a student’s success in the ninth grade is directly linked to the likelihood the student will graduate high school by 12th grade. Schools benefit too, with a bump in state funding for Average Daily Attendance (ADA), which could not come at a better time.
The five schools spent the last year tracking weekly attendance, mentoring students, handing out Game On! t-shirts and pins and rewarding “Excellent” (98-100%) or “Most Improved” attendance. Student rewards included first-in-line lunch passes, local attraction tickets and drawings for DVD players, culminating in Padres tickets, drawings for laptops and end-of-year celebrations.
More than $25,000 in incentives has been donated. Key sponsors include Chris Young’s CY All-Stars Charity Padres Ticket Program, Arey-Jones, Apple, Dell, Lenovo, Alvarado Auxiliary and the Gear Up! grant. Plans are underway to continue the program next year with an open invitation to the community for sponsorship support. Potential sponsors can contact SDUSD Community Relations at (619) 725-5592.