Madelyn Pennington, a second grader at Peaks Mill Elementary School, really enjoyed her ice cream sandwich, a reward that she and many of her peers received Monday for joining the school’s Never Been Absent, or NBA, Team. 

In an effort to encourage kids to go to school, Peaks Mill started the NBA Team as a way to reward students who haven’t been absent for a month, Principal Cassie House said. 

About 136 students at the school have had perfect attendance since the beginning of school. 

Once a month, students who have made the cut for the team will get a reward, like an ice cream sandwich and extra recess time, at the end of every month. Students will also be able to decorate a paper jersey that is displayed in the school.

Another initiative that the school will use will be a regular bike drawing. One boy and one girl with good attendance will have their names drawn at random for bikes that were picked out by the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization with funds donated by Community Trust Bank. 

School attendance has been an area of emphasis  at Peaks Mill in the past few years, House said. For the first month of school, PME's attendance was 96.72% and the goal is to be at least 97.5%. The staff has found that students who attend school more often have higher test scores. 

“And we know, from just being here in the classroom, that having a student who is here more frequently gives us an opportunity to put them in the learning environment where they can be more successful. If they miss, even if it’s a tardy, they are missing a lot of content,” House said. 

The school tries to communicate this to parents by encouraging them to have their kids ride the bus and hanging a sign in the office about the number of students who have recently been signed out during a school day. 

Madelyn said she likes going to class at Peaks Mill because her teacher, Rachel Duvall, is really nice and fun. 

“You can learn and have fun,” Madelyn said about why it is important to go to school. 

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