WASHINGTON — It can be hard for some kids to get to class — given transportation and safety concerns in parts of the District. Now, the city is launching an app that gives students incentives to reduce truancy.
It starts with enrollment in what is called the Show Up Stand Out program. Working with public and charter schools, as well as community organizations, the District is working to cut down on truancy rates.
“Any student who gets to five unexcused absences will be referred into the program,” said Michelle Garcia, director of the D.C. Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants.
The attendance app is part of the program launching in 11 middle schools — giving teams of children incentives to improve their attendance. A club leader introduces children to the app, and helps them sign up and pick their avatar.
“When they get to school, they’re supposed to check-in … they can see status of team members and can message them in school,” Garcia said.
However, kids have to stick to school rules when it comes to the use of a phone or a tablet during class.
“Teams can earn prizes, so that’s another reason [students] are encouraging their team members to check-in and show up,” Garcia said.
D.C. is developing what those prizes will be, starting with gift cards and tickets to sporting events, and working on partnerships with local universities to perhaps provide placement in skills-based camps.