Actions at SES

Salisbury attempts to improve school attendance

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Salisbury Elementary School has had the most trouble with student attendance between the three Triton elementary schools. However, that has begun to change.

SES teachers have experienced kids not showing up for weeks at a time. They also have to high number of students who on paper are considered homeless, even if they live in a motel down by the beach. 

But in the past few years, SES staff has been doing everything they can — including having students’ parents’ cars repaired and getting students taxis — in order to try and get kids to school everyday. Principal James Montanari has been making changes that have led to an increase in attendance on average. From a 16 percent daily absence rate in January, the number has dropped down to a 10 percent absence rate right now. He believes however, with school nearing its end for the year the absent rate will drop back down to 12-14%.

Montanari explains that “when you’re looking at attendance you have a regular attendance, and chronically absents which is 10% of the year so if there is 180 days then that means you’re absent 18 days,” he continues by saying that, “Sometimes those things happen but for those things to happen every year for 10 years is a stretch.”

At SES faculty has put in incentives for the children to want to attend every day. With better attendance the more tickets they get. The tickets kids receive go into a raffle at the end of the year for gifts. Mr. Montanari explains how they get kindles, hodgies gift cards, and tries to get bikes for rewards to the kids.

Montanari says, “We use incentives. You get tickets for doing good stuff. On friday you can add up the tickets and can get what they want, hat day, pajama day, or extra recess.”

In other efforts to help not just kids but their families as well, Mr.Montanari explains how they have new buildings being made near the Boys & Girls Club to house the transit and homeless families. Also on top of this if kids are unable to get to school because of missing the bus, sick parents or the car broke down SES will call the kids a taxi. If parents are unsafe with the kids going alone their parents can go to the school with then and the taxi will bring them back home after. If a parent is sick and can’t go with their kid or kids then Mr.Montanari will have the taxi pick up a staff member then go and get the kid so that they are not alone. In addition to car situations Montanari explains that one grandmother taking care of her four grand kids car had broken down and SES decided to help her by paying for the car to be fixed.

“A grandmother as helping take care of 4 or 5 kids and her car broke down so she couldn’t get them. It was a long story but we got the car fixed for them.the mechanic didn’t believe a school would do something like that… Whatever the need is, we will accommodate.”