This was the scene last week as roughly 330 elementary, secondary and adult students gathered during a rally to stress the importance of attending class. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Attendance matters for Saanich Peninsula students

Achievement depends on attendance, hundreds of students heard

You can’t achieve if you don’t attend.

This was the message roughly 200 elementary school students, 100 high school students and 40 adult learners heard during an assembly held Thursday in the gymnasium on the grounds of the WSANEC School Board in the 7400-block of West Saanich Road.

Wearing green hoodies with “Attendance Matters” on the back, the students heard from school officials and elders about the benefits of attending class.

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The rally was the kickoff to a larger program aimed at students and families to help reach an attendance record of 90 per cent for 100 per cent of students. This means missing no more than 18 school days over the course of a school year.

Maryann Gladstone, principal of Lau’welnew Tribal School, said students with an attendance record of less than 90 per cent risk scholastic failure down the line because they won’t be able to achieve various milestones.

“If they are not ready fluently by Grade 3, they are at risk of not completing high school,” she said.

To encourage students as well as parents, the campaign includes various incentives, such as the hoodies, extra recess, and public recognition, for students, as well as parents.

“The parents provide the guidelines to their children,” added Gladstone.

Last year, 30 per cent of students at Lau’welnew Tribal School achieved an attendance record of 95 per cent or above. While the new figure of 90 lowers the goal, Gladstone said the old figure did not need to be that high.

Overall, Gladstone said the commitment of students impressed during the recent rally.


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