School attendance rewarded with cash

Summer school students received more than $350,000 in incentives.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:29 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Columbia School District officials said Tuesday that incentives totaling $354,000 were given to summer school students.

Jacque Cowherd, deputy superintendent, said incentives were awarded as follows: 2,585 students had perfect attendance, for which they received a $100 gift card; 992 students had only one absence, for which they received a $75 gift card; and 422 students had only two absences, resulting in a $50 gift card. The cards are meant to be used as cash at a variety of locations.

The incentives were given out on Friday, the last day of school.

Newton Learning, an independent education contractor, ran the five-week program in which students had core classes including science, math and reading, and electives, which ranged from rocket building to art. This is the first year Columbia has used Newton for its summer school.

A record 6,000 students were enrolled in the tuition-free program with about an 85 percent attendance rate, Cheryl Cozette, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said in an earlier story.

Kevwe Eferakorho, whose daughter received the $100 incentive for perfect attendance, said she thought it was good for her daughter because she was rewarded for good behavior. Eferakorho said the incentive was in the form of a Visa money card, and her daughter might spend it on a bike or roller skates. The cards can be used wherever Visa is accepted, with the exception of ATMs and gas pumps.

Tammie Pryor, whose daughter also received the $100 gift card, said her daughter was “determined not to miss a day.” She said her daughter loved the art and music classes and has spent some of her money on an inflatable pool.

Parent and teacher surveys were given in order to evaluate the program. A report about Newton Learning is expected to go to the Board of Education sometime in the fall, Cozette said Tuesday.

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