Independence schools remove Summer Success attendance incentives - KCTV5

Independence schools remove Summer Success attendance incentives

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Few kids want to spend part of their summer in school, but the Independence School District has offered an incentive to take some of the sting out of summer school for years. 

Now that incentive is going away and the change could have students more compelled to try and stay home.

For years, the school district offered gift cards for perfect attendance.

The program was used as an incentive to make sure students in kindergarten through 8th grade attended class every day, including not being late or leaving before school is dismissed.

If they didn’t miss any days, the family received a $50 gift card. They’d get a $25 gift card if just one day was missed.

While someone from the Independence School District wasn’t available to go on camera, they did let KCTV5 News know the decision was all based on finances.

“This will be the last year we offer gift cards due to the expense,” they said. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Parents picked up the cards yesterday and the envelopes had a sticker on the back notifying them of the change.

While the Summer Success program will continue, the shift away from the gift cards did strike a chord with some parents due to the slight impact it could have on students. 

"They very much liked the fact that they get the gift card," parent Jennifer Raines said. "I think it saved a little bit of the ‘I’ve got a tummy ache, let me stay home from school.’ So that they know, 'If I go, I can get a gift card and then I can spend it on whatever I want.'” 

Also, for many families, the extra money was a plus that could be used for school supplies or extra items for their child, in addition to getting extra help and learning something in a new way.

For parents, enrolling in summer school isn't glorified babysitting, but a way to push their student forward.

Raines said her students will continue to attend the Summer Success program next year because, regardless of the incentive, it's a great way to ensure her children can stay ahead. She said she may just get gift cards herself.

Raines said, "I wanted to give them a boost for the next grade, so they didn’t have to spend the first three months catching up on what they lost.”

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