One big factor in student learning is attendance, and the high-school faculty has been making a concentrated effort on improving in this area. When teenagers are in school, they will learn more than if they are not. Class discussions, questioning and interactions with peers are not something that can be made up at home. Student attendance is a high priority at Redwood Valley High School.

Over the last six years, we have been tracking attendance data. Through the first semester of this school year, RVHS has the highest percentage of student attendance, at 94 percent. Tardies are at the lowest level in six years, and excused and unexcused absences are on the decline.

When students are sick, they have been bringing in medical forms, and we have been tracking the reasons they are absent. This is effective in determining the cause of absences and creating solutions.

One of the big changes we have made is the Privilege-Based Attendance System. Rather than punishing students for inappropriate behavior and poor attendance, we are using privileges as a motivator for appropriate behavior and good attendance. Students can earn everything from extra lunch time, reimbursements of parking and activity fees, and Friday seminars. This month, students who met attendance requirements will be taking a trip to Mt. Kato for tubing.

We have also been meeting with the local healthcare providers, social services and the Redwood County attorney’s office to explore ways we can collaborate to better serve our students and families. As a faculty, a focus has been made on making connections with students and families.

In January, teachers spent several hours looking at attendance data and coming up with plans to help individual students. We asked a panel of students to tell us about attendance, and the number one factor they gave for why they attend regularly is relationships with the adults in our building. Staff understand the power of these relationships and are working to build rapport with all of the students in their classes.

Communication is key.

If your child is absent, struggling at school or you have questions/concerns, do not hesitate to contact us.

It is a pleasure serving the students, parents and community members of this area.

– Rick Jorgenson serves as the principal for Redwood Valley High School