Hundreds of Nightingale Charter School students enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon on their very own campus at a carnival thrown by the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) Educational Services Division.
The students at the Stockton Unified School District charter school had earned it. That’s because Nightingale had the highest rate of perfect attendance this school year of all the schools participating in the Every Day Counts program, a countywide initiative from the University of the Pacific’s Beyond Our Gates. It encourages students and families to get to school and to get there on time.
The school with the highest rate of perfect attendance is recognized every year. This year was different, because SJCOE Educational Services had offered to throw a party for the winning school.
The offer came last summer. Since then, each department within Educational Services had planned what they were going to bring to the carnival. The carnival was a team-building exercise, but it fit in nicely with the day-to-day work the Educational Services departments do to help provide a quality education to students throughout the county.
“The day is soul food for our Educational Services team and also a way to support a school that has made attendance a priority,” Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Jane Steinkamp said. “Success in school is all about attendance. At Educational Services, we are all about supporting kids, and we wanted to do something for a school that has worked very hard.”
In all, the SJCOE employees brought 23 different attractions to the carnival on May 16. There was a sack race, bowling, football toss, face painting, and more.
The Regional System of District and School Support staff members wore fantastical costumes and performed a guess-the-card trick in true carnival fashion. The Assessment Projects staff ran an on-the-spot photo booth. Students would grab wacky props and pose for a picture, leaving within minutes with an instant souvenir to take home with them.
Students were engaged throughout the carnival, and school staff were grateful of both the support and love shown from the SJCOE employees, Nightingale Principal Maya Muchuca said. “It has truly been amazing,” she said. “We are speechless.”
Muchuca said the school community is proud that its attendance rate was high enough to win the Every Day Counts Attendance Challenge. “We are always encouraging students and parents, saying that every minute counts,” she said.
When the last face was painted and the last sack race was run, the students lined up to go back to class.
Somebody blew a few short blasts on a whistle, and a playground full of students responded in one voice: “Thank you.”
To read a story in The Record about the carnival, please visit http://www.recordnet.com/article/20160516/NEWS/160519745.