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Perfect attendance pays

Jillian Dickens
Northern News Services

Coral Harbour (Nov 16/05) - Staff at Coral Harbour's Sakku school are making it hard for students to resist showing up on time, every day.

"We have major concerns about attendance here," said Principal Fred Butler. "It's mostly about students coming in late in the mornings."

To curb the trend that many Nunavut schools face, Sakku school introduced an award campaign last month for those students with pristine attendance.

"It's a monetary incentive," said Butler.

Students with perfect attendance - meaning they arrive for class on-time every school day - are the beneficiaries.

In September only two students accepted the excellence award, and now one month later on Nov. 4 seven proud students stepped up to the podium for the award and prize.

"Since we introduced this it practically tripled in awards given, and next month there will be even more," Butler predicts.

Not only are the students awarded the tangible prize, they also appear on the community television channel for all to recognize how well they are doing at school.

"It's just another incentive to encourage kids to come in on time."

As the year progresses the school will throw little parties for the perfect attendees. Butler hopes their will be prizes donated from businesses to hand out as well.

School's Nunavut-wide struggle with poor attendance. Of equal concern is the territory's staggeringly low graduation rate of about 25 per cent.

School's across the territory are racking their brains on ways to make school more of a priority for the young minds of Nunavut.

Staff at Sakku school have given its elementary students from kindergarten to Grade 6 incentives for perfect attendance for a number of years.