Battle for 90/90

Neila Bates, Reporter

Administration has issued a challenge to the student body for this year: the “Attendance Matters” campaign to get most Spartans to school most of the time.

In Missouri, compulsory attendance means all children between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school. Missouri’s expectations for its public schools, commonly known as the 90/90 standard, is that 90% of students attend school 90% of the time. Battle administration has set this as a goal and set a program of challenge around the goal.

As a part of the program, administrators and teachers have met individually with students with different levels of attendance ranging from almost meeting the 90/90 goal to students who are far from the expected level.

Administrator Jacob Sirna said, “Meeting with students about their attendance helps in some situations. We can discuss their attendance and find ways to improve it.”

Along with staff efforts to meet students who have had prior attendance issues, posters with the phrase “attendance matters” have been hung around the school to promote an overall higher attendance rate.

These posters are sometimes mocked among the student body, but some students believe that the marketing campaign serves as a reminder of the negative effects of missing school.

Nicholas Myers, sophomore, said, “I think for some people they can be effective because if you see it every single time you walk in the halls or go to the water fountain, it’s something that goes into your head. For me, it hasn’t necessarily pushed me to go to school everyday, but reminds me that I should go, because missing school can definitely hurt grades.”

Guidance and administration are also providing incentives for good attendance, such as changes to blue and gold card system. Blue or gold cards are stickers handed out to be placed on the back of a student I.D. based off of attendance and grades.

These incentives have motivated some students, but others miss the Spartan 300 Tardy Challenge incentives from 2015 and 2016.

Rory Dinkins, senior, said, “I felt like the Spartan [Tardy] Challenge goals were doing a good job. The movie rewards and ice cream days seemed to motivate students to come to class. I feel like if those rewards applied to the attendance challenge as well, it would be motivating.”

Joe Magee, senior, agreed, “I don’t know how much the posters are motivating people to be in class. The things we’ve done before with the movie reward has motivated people to be in class because they know they are working towards something. For some students, being able to think, “If I’m here all the time, I’ll be able to watch a movie or get out of class five minutes earlya�� would help them be more engaged in getting to class on time or at all.”

Getting to school every day is not just about the material rewards, though, or even the end-of-year attendance awards. Students and faculty note the difference good attendance makes in grades and life-preparation as well.

Senior Mystique VanWart said, “If you miss a day, you’re one step behind in your grade and then you have to get caught up.”

Guidance counselor Melissa Patterson also said, “If you have good attendance you’ll have better grades. There is a direct correlation.”

There are also personal incentives to having good attendance. Patterson explained, “If you’re at school you’re not stressed from being behind in your classes, you don’t have the stress of playing catch up all the time. And you find yourself to be a more active member in the community if you come to school, so socially good attendance helps students.”

These types of personal incentives are strongly supported by the AVID program, which encourages students to use strategies to elevate performance and efficiency to become successful.

Toks Adegbuyi, sophomore AVID student, said, “AVID teaches people that they need to show up to school. When you go to college you need to show up. AVID stresses that so much.”

Many students wonder how showing up to high school will impact their futures. One of the most well known rewards for attendance is the scholarships with Missouri colleges through the A+program. This program pays for two years of school for students who meet the requirements, including a 95% attendance rate.

Melissa Patterson, counselor, said, “Part of the [“Attendance Matters” program] stems from the A+ scholarship. We want as many students to have access to that as possible.”

Outside of the classroom, attendance is also pertinent to being a successful employee. Employers believe if you show up regularly, you are more likely to be reliable. According to, attendance is among the top ten work ethics that employers want the most.

Brenda Linn, freshman, said, “If you want to get a job in the future, you need to show up to work, so you need to show up to school.”

With assistance from administration, reminders on the walls, and increasing incentives, the new Spartan Challenge is making lofty goals for student attendance.