GILBERT — Gilbert Elementary School won two awards this month from the Mingo County Board of Education.
Highest School Month Attendance Rate and Most Improved School Month Attendance Rate are two awards and “traveling cups” that are sent around Mingo County each month to the deserving school.
Gilbert Elementary School (GES) is the first school in the county to win both traveling trophies during the same month. Kermit held the highest attendance trophy and Dingess held the most improved before both banners were gifted to GES.
GES principal Phyllis White says the focusing more on attendance this year was one of the main goals for the new school year. The attendance policy at GES is the same as throughout the county. After 5 absences, parents will receive a letter from the board of education to schedule a meeting between the parents and the principal of the school.
“This was one of our school goals and initiatives for the new school year,” said White. “This is the first time that anyone has won both of the awards and we are so proud of that.”
According to White, GES does multiple incentives to promote good attendance including giving out prizes to students with perfect attendance.
“We do a bike giveaway for students with perfect attendance,” said White. “We take the names of every student with perfect attendance each month and then we draw names and those students win new bikes.”
White says she feels promoting good attendance is key to ensuring that students do the best that they can in school.
“Students need to be here on a regular basis because when they are here, we know that they have meals, that they’re warm and that they are getting an education,” said White. “That is why we take it so seriously because you never know what your students are going home to. We try to increase attendance every month through various efforts and our teachers are also encouraged to keep in touch with parents.”
The awards can be won by the same school each month and White says that maybe that is the next goal, to keep improving and to keep seeing attendance numbers rise so that the school will win the awards again.
White gathered the students in the gymnasium to talk about attendance before presenting them with the banners. White explained how proud she was of the school and her students.
White says that another part of promoting good attendance is ensuring the students enjoy school.
“Our PTO does so much for the children and we also have the end of the year Spring Fling for them because if they enjoy coming then you have already won,” said White. “Because you can send makeup work home with them when they’re absent but it is nothing like being in a classroom and learning it. Instruction in the classroom is the most important thing.”
Madalin Sammons is a reporter for the Gilbert Times. Madalin can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 304-664-8225.