Only slightly more than half of students in the School District’s six current Promise Academies participate in one of the schools’ most significant – and expensive – interventions.
According to month-by-month reports released by the District this week, the median student attendance figure for the six schools’ Saturday school programming was 54 percent. The schools are open for two four-hour Saturday sessions a month, which are used for both academics and enrichment activities.
In year-to-date figures provided by the District for each school, student attendance in the Saturday programming ranged from a high of 64 percent (at Dunbar Elementary, which is the smallest of the Promise Academies, with 170 students) to a low of 48 percent (at University City High, the second largest of the Promise Academies, with 638 students.)
For several of the schools, the District data show tremendous variation from month to month. At Clemente Middle School, for example, 71 percent of students attended the first Saturday session, last October. By May, however, that figure had dropped to 41 percent.
“The kids who have been coming are the ones who are your better students, but it’s the kids who aren’t there who need the extra help,” said a Clemente teacher, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.
In particular, it should have been clear all along that trying to force low-performing high school students to go to school on Saturday would be especially difficult.