BASTROP, Texas — Students are often rewarded with a gold star or a certificate for perfect attendance. But one Central Texas school district has decided to take that reward up a notch.
Bastrop Independent School District is offering the chance to win a free car for students who maintain a perfect record of attendance during the school year. The district kicked off its inaugural "Drive Sames 4 Education” Perfect Attendance Program with Sames Bastrop Ford on Sept. 26.
Kristi Lee, BISD's district deputy superintendent, said the district has seen a dip in attendance and all students' grades. The free car acts as an incentive to get students to come back to class.
For the 2021-22 school year, BISD had an attendance rate of 90.59% – the lowest rate in the last four years. When the pandemic originally hit, during the 2019-2020 school year, overall attendance was almost three percentage points higher at 93.67%.
"We have a districtwide attendance initiative that's focused on educating parents and students about the importance of coming to school every day," Lee said.
One of the initiatives the district has implemented is the "Drive Sames 4 Education Perfect Attendance Program." The goal of the program is to change attendance rates by offering a car as an incentive for students.
For every six-week period that a student has perfect attendance, they will earn a voucher. Because there are five total six-week periods left in the school year, students are able to earn up to five vouchers to enter into the drawing at the end of the school year. The winner of the drawing will win the car.
"It's going to be a 2022 EcoSport and, on top of that, Prosperity Bank will be taking care of all the textile licenses for them," said Craig Murphy, Sames Bastrop's general manager.
Textile licenses include the tax, title and license fees associated with owning a car.
Lee said the district's attendance goal for the 2022-23 school year is 93.8%. BISD needs to be closer to the 96-97% range but wants to improve regardless.
"It's important for academics [and] for future career preparation," Lee said. "It's important for connections for students to have with their teachers and their peers."
Murphy said Sames has implemented this program to schools in Laredo, garnering success. The hope is that the program will also boost attendance at BISD.
The schools participating in the program are Bastrop High School, Cedar Creek High School and Colorado River Collegiate Academy.
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