Kids are teach­ing par­ents

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tibballs

Kids are talk­ing to par­ents about it – and that’s the im­por­tant one that can make a dif­fer­ence about whether kids at­tend school or not Sharon Case, teacher

THE staff at Mossman State School’s ded­i­ca­tion to im­prov­ing at­ten­dance rates of stu­dents has been pay­ing div­i­dends for more than just grades, morale and at­ti­tudes to learn­ing – with the school be­ing se­lected by the Queensland Gov­ern­ment to take part in a study de­signed to iden­tify what some Queensland schools are do­ing right when it comes to at­ten­dance.

The re­search will be con­ducted by re­searchers from the School of Ed­u­ca­tion from the Univer­sity of Queensland, and is be­ing com­mis­sioned by the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing.

In a Queensland first, Mossman State School is one of 50 schools se­lected be­cause of sus­tained in­creases in at­ten­dance of the past five years.

“Kids start to feel suc­cess­ful once they start com­ing to school ev­ery day,” said head of teach­ing Sharon Case.

“At­ten­dance is cru­cial to kids achiev­ing suc­cess.”

The se­cret, said Ms Case, was en­sur­ing par­ents knew their chil­dren wanted to go to school – and the suc­cess over the past few years was show­ing par­ents were get­ting that mes­sage. “I do think our kids are chang­ing the view of par­ents.”

Mossman State School has an at­ten­dance rate of 91 per cent which is a marked im­prove­ment on pre­vi­ous year’s at­ten­dance rates which were as low as 86 per cent in 2014.

Stu­dents are spurred on to line up long at­ten­dance streaks through re­wards like ex­cur­sions and treats, as well as school-wide recog­ni­tion for col­lec­tive class at­ten­dance rates.

“We try to en­cour­age a cul­ture of class iden­tity … stu­dents want to win an ex­cur­sion, but they also want the glory of be­ing the high­est at­ten­dance class.”

Each week the class with the high­est at­ten­dance was recog­nised at school assem­bly, and each term the win­ning classes go on ex­cur­sions.

The highly com­pet­i­tive cul­ture has led to a neck and neck race be­tween prep stu­dents and year 6 – with two classes within strik­ing dis­tance of tak­ing out this term’s award – a trip to the pool, a pizza party and of course, brag­ging rights.

“The kids get so ex­cited – they’re giv­ing par­ents the mes­sage that they have to go to school.

“Kids are talk­ing about it, teach­ers are talk­ing about it and kids are talk­ing to par­ents about it – and that’s the im­por­tant one that can make a dif­fer­ence about whether kids at­tend school or not.”

Pic­ture: SCOTT TIBBALLS

Mossman State School stu­dents Zech Paulke and Brooke Dalziel from year 6A, which is in the run­ning to have the high­est at­ten­dance rate for term 3.

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