It’s Attendance Awareness Month at Palm Springs Unified School District.
To recognize students who are working hard to log on to their virtual classes each day on time, the school district is holding a weekly raffle with prizes.
In some cases, district representatives will drop off prizes to students at their homes.
News Channel 3’s Madison Weil went with one district liaison to drop off a prize at one student’s home in Desert Hot Springs.
“My alarms...I have like 20 of them in the morning. And this year I promised my mom I would do better,” said Israel Almaraz, a PSUSD student and a winner of this week’s raffle.
Having “good attendance” during distance learning can be challenging. From technological barriers that need to be overcome to just simply having the patience and commitment to show up and log on daily.
Consistent attendance and perseverance is something Israel’s mother, Martha Almaraz, has encouraged from the start.
“They know I have to go to work. They know this is their responsibility. This is their future,” she said.
Almaraz is a single mother of five. She says these challenges have only brought them closer.
“Israel sees how much I struggle in life, but I never give up. I always have faith and I always teach them you never give up,” she said.
“I want a better life for me and her,” added Israel.
The district says all students who are in virtual class at least 90% of the time will be entered each week into the raffle to win a prize.
“At this point what we’re doing is one student from each school so that we can make sure that we have a broad representation of all of our students,” said Lisa Todd, coordinator, student services, PSUSD.
Israel’s prize included a backpack, school supplies and an Amazon gift card. All of the prizes for Attendance Awareness Month are donated from the community.
“Our community has been absolutely amazing,” added Todd.
According to the district about 93% of PSUSD students have been showing up for class so far, and they’re hoping that number continues to steadily improve.
The district says they can’t do it without the support from parents at home. “I think as a parent it’s just about trying to lift them up when they feel like they can’t do it,” added Almaraz.
The school district says they just started the attendance raffle program. They will be passing out more prizes in the coming weeks.