In the wake of Portland Public Schools
' October decision to close Marshall High School
at the end of this school year, student attendance at the Southeast Portland high school has fallen to the point that school officials have decided to offer "incentives"
to students to improve the schools' attendance rate.
The "incentives" include tickets to Harlem Globetrotter games, pizza parties and Netbooks for students who maintain attendance rates of 95 percent or higher. According to the Portland School Board agenda for today
, Monday, Feb. 28:
Operating with the belief that rewarding good attendance is as important if not more important than punishing poor attendance, Marshall and District staff have developed a process to reward good or improved attendance. Specifically, District staff has secured items from donors to reward students for good or improved attendance, including Harlem Globetrotter tickets, coupons, and merchandise. Similarly, the District will use grant money to pay for monthly pizza parties for students with 95% or above attendance. The board generously donated five Netbooks, which will also be used to reward good or improved attendance. (The small school administrators will buy one additional Netbook so that each school can distribute two Netbooks to their schools).
Matt Shelby, a spokesman for the school district, says the Portland School Board did not buy the five Netbooks; those five items were donated to the district. But PPS did buy a sixth Netbook for several hundred dollars, so that each of Marshall's three "small schools" within the school could distribute two Netbooks to students.
Dani Parker, a Marshall student (pictured above) who spoke out last fall against her school's closure, says struggling students are the ones most affected. "The students who are starting to skip more are the ones who were skipping before," she says.