Elementary schools around McPherson are encouraging students to keep up their good attendance.

Last year, counselors from McPherson elementary schools brainstormed ways to improve attendance. When students aren’t in class, they miss out on valuable learning time, even if it’s only a day or two at a time.

The resulting award programs are showing success in improved attendance.

For two years now, Washington Elementary School students are awarded prizes — once in the fall semester for missing four or less days, and in the spring semester for missing four or less days.

"The kids really like it. Another secretary and I in the office even have parents asking us now, 'How many days has my kid missed?' So it seems to help give them motivation," said Abby Hagemann, secretary at Washington elementary.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade with good attendance are added to a drawing. Then, Darci Weiser, counselor at Washington elementary, selects a handful of winners from the bucket.

Basket prizes are awarded to those randomly selected. The baskets are on display throughout the semester, which makes for better attendance if students are set on a particular prize.

"We display them all throughout the school year and they'll sit there until the following assembly," Hagemann added.

Out of the 250 students at Washington, Hagemann said 85 percent were in the drawing for good attendance last fall.

If students are not chosen for the basket prizes, they are awarded a certificate with their name on it, signed by Weiser and principal Jill Beam.

Since this fall at Eisenhower Elementary School, students can miss up to six days or less and are picked every month for their dedication.

"I set monthly goals for them and if they meet the attendance goal that month, their name goes into a drawing and then I can generate that through power school," said Kari Moddlemog, counselor at Eisenhower Elementary School.

Toward the end of the month, Eisenhower and staff host a positive behavior reward assembly to recognize students for their hard work.

"We really wanted something exciting in front of the whole school," Moddlemog said. "For the first two months, we would draw out names during the assembly and it was really exciting. The kids were all jazzed about it and in October — the prize was a hay rack ride — and I pulled them out separately. November was eating caramel apples with the high school cheerleaders."

With the busy season of school starting back up, Moddlemog said the students were awarded their prizes in classrooms in front of their classmates over the last few months.

"They were still getting recognized in front of their class. But now I could start recognizing them at our daily meetings when the school is all together like we did before," Moddlemog said.

Out of the 275 students at Eisenhower elementary, 89 percent of students were awarded for their hard work.

"That's a good percentage, there's still room and I'd like to grow in the 90s," Moddlemog noted.

At Lincoln Elementary school, kids can miss four or less days from Aug. 15 to Dec.15 and will be awarded, as well as missing less than eight days by May 18.

Lincoln Elementary also focuses on the whole family. The student awarded in December or May will be entered into a raffle drawing for a bigger prize for their whole family.

At Roosevelt Elementary school, students are allowed to miss four or less days and are recognized at the assembly and receive a certificate.

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.