October is "Attendance Awareness" Month at Guadalupe
GUADALUPE CHARTER SCHOOL IS A GREAT PLACE TO BE EVERY DAY!
The students at Guadalupe will be extra diligent to make it to school on time this month because, if their attendance is excellent, they will earn a class party at the end of October. It's because October is Attendance Awareness Month at Guadalupe. If the entire class shows up for a certain number of days, then the class gets an attendance party. And, of course, everyone loves a party!
For the month of September, Guadalupe Charter School had ten students with perfect attendance (perfect means no absences and no tardiness). Pictured above is Guadalupe's Attendance Coordinator, Veronica Salazar, and eight of Guadalupe's Perfect Attendance Champions.
Why Should Attendance Have Its Own Month?
Why is attendance a big deal? Well, it’s a big problem for schools across the nation. It’s estimated that 5-7.5 million American students are at risk academically each year because they are chronically absent. Chronic absence is defined as missing 10% or more of scheduled school days. This includes excused absences, because students can’t learn if they aren’t in class, no matter the reason they are absent.
Isn’t Attendance an Individual Problem?
Attendance is important for the whole school. Why? Because chronic absences create academic problems, not just for those students who are missing the class time (because, as we’ve already said, students can’t learn if they aren't here) but also for the other students in the class because of the classroom “churn” that comes from high levels of absence. This churn interferes with the teacher’s ability to meet the learning needs of all of the students.
How is Attendance Important to Student Success?
Research shows that, starting as early as the Pre-K years, chronic absence Can have a negative impact on academic achievement. For example, by the third grade, students who have poor attendance are less likely to be reading at grade level. By sixth grade chronic absence is a warning sign that student may drop out of high school. And, by the ninth grade, it’s a better indicator of a student’s likelihood of dropping out than the student’s eight grade test scores.
What is Attendance Like at Guadalupe?
Guadalupe’s average daily attendance is around 95%. That’s a very good number, but it’s a number that conceals a disturbing fact: 3-5% of Guadalupe’s students may be described as chronically absent. In a student body of approximately 300 students, that means as many as 15 of our students may be suffering academically because of their absences from school. And that is definitely NOT a good number.
What is Guadalupe Doing to Address the Issue of Attendance?
Our secret weapon in the fight against chronic absenteeism is Veronica Salazar, Guadalupe’s Attendance Coordinator. Veronica tracks those students who are chronically absent or tardy. She mentors these students and talks to their parents about the importance of good attendance to their student’s academic success. Veronica is part of Guadalupe’s Attendance Team, which has a weekly W.A.R. (Weekly Attendance Review) meeting, to review the school’s weekly attendance numbers and to discuss any concerns that may exist. The Other members of the Attendance Team are Kyle Price, Guadalupe’s United Way Coordinator, and Megan Daybell, Guadalupe’s Social Worker. The team has a whole array of tools at its disposal to help students and their families to understand the importance of good attendance.
What’s the Difference Between Chronic Absence and Good Old Fashioned Truancy?
Most parents and people in the community have no real understanding of the problem of chronic absenteeism. They assume that, since there are already extensive rules on the books about truancy, the problem is under control. But, the differences between truancy and chronic absenteeism are important. While truancy only counts unexcused absences and concerns itself with compliance with attendance rules, and relies primarily on legal and administrative solutions. Chronic absence, on the other hand, counts ALL absences: excused, unexcused, and suspensions. Moreover, it emphasizes the academic impact of the missed classroom time, and it makes use of community-based, positive solutions.
For more about how attendance impacts student and school performance, check out Attendance Works:
I have worked as a School Social Worker for Guadalupe Charter for the past 7 years. I have been tasked with the responsibility of teaching students the skills necessary to effectively navigate the stresses of life and be confident in their ability to make healthy choices. One question I often grapple with is, “how do I help young children understand their personal power in making positive contributions within their community?”
This is the question I had in mind when I began planning the Social Skills curriculum for the Guadalupe Summer School. A co-worker and I were talking about how inspired we were by a small group of 6th Grade students from the previous year who had taken it upon themselves to raise money for a beloved member of our community who had encountered serious health concerns. We proudly spoke of these students’ generosity and commitment to helping others. We cried as we reflected on how young people can make a big difference. It suddenly occurred to us that we could create a fundraising project for summer school students where they could have the experience of giving back to someone in need. So began Guadalupe Summer School’s “Read For Relief” Fundraiser.
We searched for agencies within the community who inspired us by their various mission of giving back and landed upon Shriners Hospital For Children. Their vision of “transforming children’s lives by providing exceptional healthcare through innovative research, in a patient and family-centered environment,” spoke to us, and we began brainstorming how to create an opportunity for students to feel invested and motivated to earn money for this exceptional institution.
We introduced students to the fundraiser during an opening assembly on the first day of Summer School. A representative from Shriners Hospital graciously presented about the history and mission of the agency. The real buy-in for students came in the form of a young girl who told students her story about how Shriners Hospital helped her overcome the devastating effects she experienced after having a stroke as a baby. We were all hooked.
The concept was simple: have students find sponsors who would donate 20 cents for every page they read over a two week period. The execution was harder. Guadalupe Students went to their families and friends and sold them on why they should give their hard earned money to a children’s hospital. Unsurprisingly, many of our families and community members stepped up to the job. The next two weeks were a flurry of words on a page as students eagerly tallied up their earnings. At the end of it all, students were able to raise $715 for Shriners Hospital. We are all so proud of the students and their efforts to help other children. - by Megan Daybell, Social Worker at Guadalupe School
Guadalupe School's K-6 Charter School is home to 300 students. Not only are students provided free bus transportation - making it possible to maintain an excellent 95% attendance rate - but they also receive free breakfast and lunch. Students learn and grow in small classes with a maximum of 25 students each, and that include instruction from both a wonderful teacher and a bilingual paraprofessional. Those in need of extra assistance participate in student-led, one-on-one tutoring.
On top of superb classroom learning, Charter School students enjoy extra curricular opportunities and community resources made possible through partners of Guadalupe School. A robust After School program provides homework help and enrichment activities, US Bank and the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Foundation provides a full-time art teacher salary so that students can enjoy art classes, and the University of Utah Tanner Dance program provides dance classes, recitals, and dance scholarships.
Our Charter School's success is due in part to the strong emphasis our organization places on parent involvement. Charter School parents are required to do at least 20 hours of service per semester, although many go far above and beyond that minimum. Involved parents meet monthly to discuss how to improve their children's grade school experiences, and help out in classrooms, at the front office, and at school events. These parents often comment on how their children strive to succeed as they see the investment their involved parents are making at their school.
If you would like to learn more about the K-6 Charter School, or get your child enrolled, contact us at 801-531-6100, or email Catherine at email@example.com.
Learn more about a Guadalupe 6th grader who enjoys Charter School and received a Tanner Dance scholarship, by watching the video below!
Guadalupe School's first three programs all fall within the Early Learning Center. Our organization's mission is to transform lives through education, and part of that is through taking a holistic approach to educating and creating environments of literacy and success. Our Early Learning programs allow children to start receiving instruction and assistance from infancy, and allow their parents to be vital parts of their growth and development from day one.
The first program is In-Home, where parent educators make personal visits to the homes of up 48 families. Educators provide parents with training, do child developmental screenings, and make community resource referrals. They help parents become their children's most influential teacher and build their children's intellectual, lingual, social, and physical development from birth to age three.
Toddler Beginnings, the second Early Learning program, follows seamlessly after In-Home. This program serves two-year-olds, whose parents would like them to spend part time in a classroom setting throughout the week, experiencing a hands-on, activities-based curriculum that focuses on preschool readiness. Teaching is targeted to all areas of child development, and instructors hold bachelor's degrees or Child Development Associate certificates. Class size is limited to 15 children, with a 1:5 adult to child ratio, to ensure that each student receives the individualized attention they need.
The final program in the Early Learning Center is our half-day, Monday-Thursday Preschool. This program serves up to 80 three and four-year-olds, and also targets both academic preparatory skills for kindergarten readiness and child development. Students are taught in small group settings, enjoy outdoor exploration time, and choose learning centers set up to spark accelerated thinking. Teachers hold bachelor's in Early Childhood Education or the equivalent, and teach in classrooms with a 1:7 adult to child ratio.
If you have more questions about our Early Learning programs, or want to learn more about enrolling your child, contact us at 801-531-6100, or email Elsa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the video below to see a currently enrolled family who has benefited from Guadalupe School's Early Learning programs!
As part of our storytelling at the Destinations Gala fundraiser last month, we debuted three new videos, highlighting families benefiting from programs at Guadalupe School. The first video introduces us to the Fuentes Family, consisting of Jessica, Julio, and their three children, each enrolled in various Guadalupe programs. Especially touching is the family's joint experience learning from their parent educator in the In-Home Program, over the course of six years! The next video highlights Fernando, a Guadalupe 6th grader, and his mom, Mercela. Both Fernando and Mercela are students at Guadalupe - one in the Charter School, and one in Adult Education. Mercela shares about her immigration story from Mexico, and Fernando tells of his awesome experience with Guadalupe's community partner, Tanner Dance. The third video focuses on Hamilton and his family, who are immigrants from Haiti. Hamilton is an enthusiastic Adult Education student with an entrepreneurial streak who is hoping to run his own party decor business in Salt Lake City. Scroll down and hit play to watch these incredible stories! If you like what you see, make sure to share on social media!
This month Guadalupe School held its largest annual fundraiser, the Spring Gala. This year our theme was "Destinations," signifying the many beautiful places Guadalupe families are from, and the many wonderful places they are headed due to successes reached through education.
In preparation of the fundraiser, we received some special help from a corporation our school works with closely. Verapath Global Investing is the company that manages Guadalupe 401k benefits, but they have also now become a valued volunteer force! Verapath sent several employees, including their CEO, Kent Misener, to help put together hundreds of party favors for the guests at sponsored tables of the Destinations Gala. We are so grateful for the help of volunteer groups like Verpath's team.
The Destinations Gala took place at The Rose Wagner Theater, and included a cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner, live auction, and several pieces of entertainment. African drummer surprised guests by starting off the night with a bang, and were followed by Latin folklorico dancers, bagpipers, Polynesian dancers, and the headliner of the night - Salt Lake native Ta'u Pupu'a. Pupu'a especially wowed with his internationally acclaimed opera talent. The night was a huge success, pulling in Guadalupe friends from over 20 different sponsoring corporate groups. Together the community raised over $115,000 to put towards Guadaupe School's academic programs. We could not be more grateful for the support. It was a lovely event and we thank all who were involved. The funds raised will undoubtedly help us continue to transform lives through education.
Guadalupe School Charter students look forward to one especially colorful day of reading each year - Dr. Seuss Day! This year, although the holiday fell on Saturday, Guadalupe students celebrated during the week with a plethora of fun activities that helped them see the joy in reading and writing. Guadalupe School's After School program partnered with United Way and University of Utah sorority members to provide multiple workshops for students to rotate between. The children enjoyed coloring Dr. Seuss illustrations, playing educational games, and of course, listening to volunteers as they read Dr. Seuss books. The University of Utah volunteers even dressed up as Dr. Seuss and Thing 1 and Thing 2, in order to make the event especially fun. Overall, Guadalupe students, staff, and volunteers all appreciated the opportunity to celebrate reading, and the imagination and creativity that goes into sharing stories.
Fifth graders carried on an annual tradition this month by attending the Junior Achievement BizTown Program! BizTown, "combines in-class learning with a day-long visit to [JA City], a fully-interactive simulated learning facility." In preparation for the event, volunteers from American Express visited Guadalupe School to run mock interviews with students. The children dressed up in their professional best, and blew interviewers away with their wonderful answers. Some of the follow-up comments from adult volunteers included, "These students were prepared, enthusiastic and had a high energy level when they came to interview;" "I was impressed with how honest and open they were about sharing life experiences;" "I am so proud of this group of students! They were so brave and I never could have done what they did today when I was 11 years old."
A couple of days after interviews, the two classes traveled to JA City at Gateway. They enjoyed a speech from a student mayor, then become employees and managers of various real-life Salt Lake City businesses for a day. Adult volunteers helped teach the kids about workplace practices, management skills, and the day-to-day tasks of running a business!
Guadalupe School is so proud of all of our grade school students. They work hard and learn quickly in order to best prepare for future success. Students loved this hands-on experience, and learned a lot about how a community works, and what types of professions they can aspire to fulfill.
This month Guadalupe School's Executive Director, Richard Pater, had the pleasure of meeting with the Mexican Consul of Utah, José Borjón, and giving him a tour of the Guadalupe School campus. Consul Borjón expressed the seriousness with which the Consulate of Mexico takes education and community initiatives, especially for local Hispanic and Latino families. He relayed his hope of partnering with various elements of Guadalupe programs to provide value, whether by speaking at the 6th grade graduation ceremony, or providing resources and speakers to parent involvement committee meetings or Adult Education gatherings. Mr. Pater was proud to tour the Consul around the school, telling him how each program is represented and what it achieves. Consul Borjón generously gave Guadalupe School a parting gift: a full set of Mexican textbooks for the Adult Education portion of our library. Guadalupe School is proud to have hosted such a distinguished guest, and we cannot wait to see the good things we will accomplish together.
Last month Guadalupe School students and parents were able to enjoy some fun written correspondence with staff and board members. Many Adult Education students, Charter School parent volunteers, and one full class of fourth graders took the time to write letters to board members detailing why they like being a part of the Guadalupe School community.
One Adult Education student wrote, "I have been 1.5 years coming to English classes. It is good for me. I need English for my work and life. English helps me to communicate better. I like coming to the school and listening to the teacher and learning." One parent of a Charter School student said, "I want to thank you for all you do for this wonderful school. I am very proud of how my kids are doing academically. I really hope my kids all graduate from this school." A fourth grader explained, "Math is one of my favorite things to do at school. You can learn how to do it different ways, and it is fun to me."
When board members and staff leadership met for a Board Retreat in January, they took the time to respond to the letters written. They expressed their admiration for adults learning English, their gratitude to parents in the Charter School who care so much about the education of their children, and told fourth graders about their favorite school subjects and hobbies. Students received these responses, and were very excited to read through them.
This activity allowed for those benefiting from Guadalupe School's programs, and those who work hard to gather the support needed for them to continue, to connect on a more personal level. All involved felt it was a positive interaction, and emphasized the community effort that occurs at Guadalupe School in order to transform lives through education.