On Wednesday, April 25, a delegation of representatives and senators from the Oregon State Legislature visited Washington Elementary School. The group, from the Joint Interim Committee on Student Success, was in Pendleton to learn about TAPP, the Tribal Attendance Pilot Project. TAPP is designed to reduce chronic absenteeism of Native American students in nine pre-selected Oregon school districts, one of which is Pendleton SD. The Oregon legislature allocated $1.55 million for the 2017-19 biennium to fund family advocate positions at schools through the program.
After a tour of Washington Elementary School, the group heard a presentation by Principal Aimee VanNice about how TAPP is working in the school. All Native American elementary students in the district are invited to monthly TAPP events and because it is a school-wide initiative, it is positively impacting all students at the school. Of the 144 Native American students at Washington, 37 are being closely monitored. Stacey Jacobs, the TAPP family advocate, is communicating with these students and their families to improve attendance.
VanNice showed that 24 of the students have moved from concerning absenteeism to moderate or good attendance. "We are meeting as a team weekly to discuss attendance, developing individual student plans, doing family check-ins -- all to forge positive connections between the school and native families for a better experience for students," VanNice said.
The legislative group also learned about the native language signage throughout Washington school and the native language program for all kindergartners at the Pendleton Early Learning Center.
To view photos of the visit, please visit the district Facebook Page.