Students find reasons to go to Saturday school
It seemed like the perfect day to hit the snooze alarm and stay in bed all morning.
But most high school students found the reasons to go to school more compelling than reasons not to, though many said they considered skipping the first of two Saturday sessions at the Janesville School District.
“My mom made me,” said Toni Vincent, a Parker sophomore. “I heard you get a ticket if you don’t come.”
Freshman Austin Lloyd said he came because he couldn’t get any more unexcused absences.
“I didn’t want to come,” he said.
He dragged a few friends along for company, he said.
Austin needn’t have worried. Preliminary counts show 66 percent of Parker students and 73 percent of Craig students showed up for Saturday school.
It was the first of two Saturday sessions for the district to make up two of its four snow days this winter. The second session is scheduled for Saturday, May 3. A third day will be made up at the end of the school year, and a fourth was built into the schedule.
Overall attendance reached 74.4 percent, compared to 93.8 percent on a normal day, said Steve Johnson, director of human and administrative resources. High school and middle school students attended two hours in the morning, while elementary students went for 5.5 hours.
“We’d like for (attendance) to be what it normally is, but it could be far worse,” Johnson said.
Jan Diers, a business teacher at Craig High School, believes the fun activities planned for the high schools helped draw more students. Craig students watched a hypnotist, while Parker students saw an illusionist. Both performers had anti-drug and –alcohol messages.
“People need to laugh once in a while,” Diers said. “It shows them school can be fun, nothing wrong with that.”
Craig students laughed plenty Saturday morning as hypnotist Mike Winters made their friends—and one teacher—do crazy things onstage. They roared as the hypnotized volunteers forgot their names, talked into their shoes and “flew” to Cancun, Mexico.
Winters worked anti-drug slogans into random points in the act. He asked junior Scott Fry to audition for a commercial about the importance of avoiding drugs and alcohol.
“Don’t do drugs,” a hypnotized Fry said, pointing at the audience.
“And what about alcohol?” Winters prodded.
“Don’t get caught,” Fry replied instantly.
Other schools planned group activities as well. Students at Marshall Middle School watched the girls basketball team take on a faculty team. Franklin Middle School students took team enrichment lessons and started planning for the school’s “Earth Week” later this month.
Some schools, including Jefferson Elementary School, Jackson Elementary School and Edison Middle School, planned to hold classes as usual.
In the days leading up to Saturday, Craig staff addressed the weekend session as a normal day of school, which helped boost the turnout, Principal Mike Keuhne said.
“When I was talking to them, there was an expectation that school was going on,” he said.
BY THE NUMBERS
Here are Saturday’s preliminary attendance totals for the Janesville School District from Steve Johnson, director of human and administrative resources.
School Percent attending Saturday Avg. attendance (%)
Craig High 73 88
Parker High 66 91
Marshall Middle 77 94
Edison Middle 66 88
Franklin Middle 78 91
Adams Elementary 82 95
Jackson Elementary 64 92
Jefferson Elementary 72 97
Harrison Elementary 76 97
Kennedy Elementary 82 97
Lincoln Elementary 77 95
Madison Elementary 75 93
Monroe Elementary 78 95
Roosevelt Elementary 76 95
Van Buren Elementary 75 97
Washington Elementary 70 95
Wilson Elementary 77 95
Total 74.4 93.8
*Attendance figures were not available for the district’s four charter schools.