by City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps VISTA, Julie Lavoie. The City Year Team serving at Gossler Park Elemetary School is generously supported by the Lincoln Financial Foundation.
On a chilly “spring” morning in April, Lincoln Financial and City Year New Hampshire teamed up to host a celebration of attendance breakfast at Gossler Park Elementary School. The City Year team set up two tables where parents and guardians drop off their students each day. AmeriCorps members decorated the tables with signs that read “Thank you for being on time!” and “Check that your alarm is set the night before!”. As students were dropped off, Lincoln employees and City Year members dished out coffee and doughnuts to thank them for arriving to school on time.
Lincoln Financial supports the City Year team at Gossler Park to support student attendance. Nationwide, 1 in 10 students in kindergarten to first grade is chronically absent. By sixth grade, chronic absence becomes an early warning sign indicating that students will drop out of high school. For these reasons, it is essential for City Year to include attendance as a focus area in our service.
Lincoln has engaged in additional initiatives surrounding attendance in the past, as well. For example, Lincoln employees enforce attendance with writing prompts for Gossler Park students. Employees draw pictures of things they do to get ready for work on time each day. They also answer writing prompts like “When I start my day, I always try to…” and “I liked to go to school because…”. One of these prompts, featured here.
Another attendance initiative Gossler Park has implemented is a Walking Bus, where City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps members walk through the neighborhood near the school and escort students to school. The City Year team worked with the school social worker and principal to design a route and advertise to families. This helps encourage students to get to school on time and have a safe and positive experience getting there.