KERMAN, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tardies and leaving school early is not allowed at one Fresno County school district if you want perfect attendance. It seems the policies are paying off and helping students take coming to class seriously.
On Wednesday, the Fresno County Office of Education honored Kerman Unified School District as part of Attendance Awareness Month. More than 30 students sat in front of Goldenrod Elementary School during a special celebration to cheer on their school district's high attendance rate. The 30 kids had perfect attendance last year.
Principal of Goldenrod Elementary Susan Toste says, "They cannot have a tardy nor can they leave early any day so that makes it a little harder to achieve."
Fresno County Office of Education reports Kerman Unified had the highest attendance rate in the county this past year at 98.3%. Fresno County Office of Education Superintendent Jim Yovino says, "You're the best in the entire county! There are 32 school districts and Kerman came out on top."
Yovino told the crowd that kindergartners and first graders who are chronically absent or tardy are less likely to read well by third grade. Principal Toste says their school has a number of incentives for children to encourage them to never miss class.
Toste says, "Last year we did if any class had ten days in a row of perfect attendance they were awarded a pizza party with ice cream. The kids can earn golden tickets that are redeemed for prizes for good attendance."
Goldenrod Elementary also has attendance award assemblies four times a year. At the end of the year, students with perfect attendance get a medal. Sixth grader Eli Quinones has three and tells Action News why students should go to school every day.
Eli Quinones, 11 years old, says "Because if they didn't their grades will get lower and they might not get into college."
Local law enforcement also says when students are coming to school every day, they're getting into less trouble after school. Officer Lee Ness is Kerman Unified's School Resource Officer.
Ness says, "When they're in schools, when they're doing sports, doing clubs and programs, we find they are not getting involved in gangs."
Goldenrod Elementary School says it has also seen an improvement in its students' test scores, giving administrators even more proof that consistency in the classroom means more success overall.
Kerman Unified boasts over 98 percent attendance rate