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A reward for students
Lewiston Morning Tribune - 10/5/2022
Oct. 5—The students at Tammany High School had a "teacher reveal" assembly as a reward for their recent attendance blitz Tuesday.
Kevin Olberding, a social studies and math teacher at the school, volunteered to have his hair dyed if students met their goal of an average daily attendance of 80%. From Sept. 12-23 students met the goal by reaching an attendance average of 81.6%. Tammany High School has 100 students at the school, said Principal Greg Kramasz, who has been in that role since 2013.
"We're people of our word," Kramasz said. "So Mr. O will be donning a new hairdo."
Olberding's vibrant hair was revealed from under his hat to applause and cheers from students. The purple color, which matched his Tammany shirt, was chosen for its correlation to the school colors.
"We'll see how long I can handle it," Olberding said on how long the color will stay on his head, although he has agreed to keep it at least until this coming Monday.
Olberding isn't the only teacher who has volunteered to be subject to students' fancies. "Basically, all the teachers said they'd take part in whatever challenge is appropriate," Kramasz said. "I'm in the mix, too."
He said the staff are all "team players" in helping their students be successful. Olberding also credited staff's willingness to participate in fun activities like the attendance blitz.
"It really creates a good culture (for students and staff)," Olberding said. "And being that we're only 90 to 100 students, that's pretty important."
Other possible activities for teachers at assemblies include shaving heads or beards and the classic pie-in-the-face. Students will vote on the next victim and reward.
Kramasz said the school plans on doing more attendance blitz events, with each one increasing the average daily attendance— next it will be 83%, then 87%.
"So we're always pushing that up," Kramasz said.
Students have been encouraging others to come to class, Kramasz said. He saw one student calling another before school started telling them to get to school.
"It's been a really good start to the school year," Kramasz said. "The kids have really been buying into the vision and mission to make success happen every day."
The assembly also featured teacher trivia. Students gathered in their first period classes to compete on who knew the most about their teachers. The winning class will be served with doughnuts in class.
Questions included details about the teacher's past, like who owned a moped in college, to hobbies, like who plays six instruments, and random facts, like who was stuck in an elevator for two hours with Sylvester Stallone.
Students chatted away during discussion of the trivia question and went silent when the next question was read. Then erupted into cheers when their classroom got the question correct.
The students were also visited by members of the school board, President Brad Cuddy, board member Charlette Kremer and Lewiston School District Superintendent Lance Hansen, who also volunteer to take part in rewarding students at a future assembly.
The Lewiston School District and the Nez Perce County Commissioners issued a proclamation at the Sept. 12 school board meeting for September to be Attendance Awareness month, putting an emphasis on keeping kids in school. The Nez Perce County Prosecutor's Office had a news release about attendance court, which is made up of hearing officers, juvenile probation, a resource officer, director of students and the assistant principal of the school where the student attends. There have been 93 cases through the program with a recidivism rate of less than 5%, according to the news release.
"Attendance Court brings resources to the table to help students get to school," Nez Perce County Prosecutor Justin Coleman said in the release. "We focus on the 'why does the student miss class' rather than 'when.' "
The attendance blitz was created to spark the interest of the kids and provide incentive to come to school. Kramasz said the more students are in school the better their grades are, the amount of credits they earn increases and students are more likely to graduate.
"The more you're in school the better your odds of graduating," Kramasz told the students at the assembly.
Kramasz said after the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance rates dropped. Students got out of the habit of coming to school because they were staying home when they or family members were sick.
"The muscle memory got away from us," Kramasz said. "We're doing what we can to get that muscle memory back."
Brewster may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (208) 848-2297.
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