Attendance Matters Campaign to Offer Student Incentives to Go to - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Attendance Matters Campaign to Offer Student Incentives to Go to Class

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - Several organization are working together to keep local kids in school. It's all part of the Attendance Matters campaign. 

"We really want to get this message out into the community for parents. We also want the community's message to be around here: kids go to school, that's what we do," said Bruce Hawkins, who sits on the United Way board.

Between the Tri-Cities, Benton City and Burbank there are 12 middle schools in the Mid-Columbia. That age group is believed to be the most pivotal in a student's early education. 

"Students who miss 20% of the school year in 9th grade. That's a big indicator of whether or not they'll drop out than test scores. Attendance is huge," said Ochoa Middle School Assistant Principal Shannon Lockard.

The average number of missed school days for a student is 11. Attendance Matters aims to bring that number down to nine.

"When you get into that pattern of not coming to school, it makes it easier to stay home because you're already behind than to go to school," said Lockard.

This is where Attendance Matters comes in. The program will offer every homeroom of every middle school the opportunity to earn free tickets to a Tri-Cities Fever game this season. 

"We think that'll be very attractive to the students. Get a chance to see the Fever and join in on that excitement," said Hawkins.

"If we can set them up with positive attendance now when they get to high school that's going to continue. So I'm just very thankful to all of the donations and hard work that's gone behind making attendance matters possible," said Lockard.

Blizzard coupons from Dairy Queen are another incentive that will be used. United Way is working on a $150,000 grant to continue Attendance Matters for another few years.