Educators and administrators are examining ways to address truancy and persistent absenteeism. Last school year, about 15,000 D.C. Public Schools students — 32 percent of all students in pre-kindergarten through high school — missed more than 10 days of classes without a valid excuse.
Students receive a numbered index card as they enter Simon Elementary School. The index cards become a ticket for a daily raffle of such items as pencils, snacks or even backpacks, held each day in the cafeteria during breakfast. D.C. has enormous truancy rates, even among young children. In the past year or two, the school system has made a big push to improve attendance. Simon Elementary is seen as a model, introducing incentives and games that are tied to attendance and meant to get kids excited about coming to school. Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post Buy Photo