The Importance of Attendance – George Washington Carver


Practice Overview

George Washington Carver High School for the Sciences (GWCHSS) employs an online platform of videos and resources that reflect the cultural experiences of young Black and Latino males. GWCHSS has found that this content is critical to recreating culturally-relevant educational connections among its targeted student population. School Advisors begin by watching the videos with students. Each video features a teen’s true experience about the challenges that Black and Latino male students face.

In this video, from kindergarten through eighth grade, George Evans missed more than four hundred days of school. For the many students in households around the world, waking up and going to school each morning is the norm. But with the chaos in George Evan’s household, that was not the case. Sometimes when kids miss school, it’s the grown-ups in their life that are the real problem.

Change was slow and difficult, but Scarlet Evans, George’s mom, got the help she needed. George began to accept responsibility for his education, as well, even at age 15 “learning what it takes to stand in this world. Like a job, responsibilities… stuff a boy my age should be thinking about because I want to go to college,” he says.

Online correlated Weekly Guides enable GWCHSS Advisors to quickly review and facilitate lesson plans, which include discussion prompts, self-reflection questions and student activities. GWCHSS has found that the Connect with Kids peer-to-peer model helps improve school climate and increase positive student behavior.

Sample Lesson Plan

Discussion and Self-Reflection Questions

  • In the video, students give lots of reasons for missing school, like transportation issues, having to stay home to take care of family members, just thinking that their families did not expect much of them. Are there times, aside from illness, that you have missed school? Why?
  • In the video, George says he came to terms with the need for an education, because “I need to stand on my own two feet. Because I don’t want to live with my mom forever.” What does it mean to you to be responsible for your own education?
  • Who is interested in your academic success? What do you do to keep them updated on your progress, successes and areas that you might need help with?
  • Where can you go for help with your school assignments? Have you asked for help? If not, what has stopped you?

Activity: You Be the Teacher

In order to teach an idea or skill to someone, you’ve got to know it pretty well. When you teach something to someone else, you’ll not only remember it better yourself, you’ll also find that the other person’s questions will help you find out how well you really know what you’re talking about. Think of a skill, talent or knowledge you already have or research something that you would like to teach someone else. Do the research or prepare a list of what you would like to teach that person. Select another classmate or family member and teach them what you know. Write down the questions that they asked. If you don’t know the answer, find out!