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Woody Allen once quipped that “80% of success is showing up.” In education, researchers confirm a strong correlation between how often students “show up” for school and how successful they are. Supported by funding from House Bill 4002 (2015), which called for a statewide plan to address absenteeism, Klamath Falls City Schools district leaders have implemented a wide range of creative attendance-boosting initiatives. This month, those initiatives will include three district-wide raffle drawings on Friday, Dec. 6, 13, and 20.

“Fridays are traditionally low-attendance days, or ‘hotspots’,” says Charlene Herron, director for Advancement Via Individual Determination and secondary curriculum and, since last year, coordinator for the District’s Attendance Team. “In December, students with perfect attendance Monday through Thursday will be eligible for each raffle drawing, and of course they must be present on Fridays to win a prize.”

The raffle was conceived by Herron’s District Attendance Team, which meets monthly to analyze attendance data, identify “hotspots” of absenteeism, develop intervention plans, and assess results. Raffle prizes were donated by local businesses including: Starbucks, Dutch Bro’s, Human Bean, Green Blade Bakery, Gino’s, The Daily Bagel, Holiday Market, Give Me Some Sugar, The Lighthouse Yogurt Co., KFC, The Chicken Shack, Coffee Paws, and Beaverton Florists.

Herron notes that the number of the District’s “regular attenders” (students who attend 90% or more) has increased 7.25% since last year. She is grateful for state support that will help her team continue its successful work.

“The state has recognized that chronic absenteeism drastically reduces the chance of graduation,” says Herron. “Think of a student who shows up 75% of the time. While 75% may sound like an average or passing score, it is the equivalent of missing an entire year of a four-year high school education.”

Oregon ranks within the bottom 20% of schools nationally for chronic absenteeism, and its high school graduation rate is 79% compared to the national rate of 85%. By comparison, Klamath Union High School this year reached 90.3% of seniors graduating in four years.