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New App Aims To End Truancy
By Brian Carter, Staff Writer
Published April 2, 2015

 The Snap2School application rewards students who get to class on time

 Lamar Walker holds his phone with the Snap2School app, which is proving successful in getting youth attendance numbers up in high school.  (Brian Carter photo)


Truancy and attendance in schools throughout the state have been a big issue over the years. According to In School + On Track, based on a sample of California school districts, over 250,000 elementary school students were chronically absent in 2013-2014 missing 10% of the school year, which is up to 18 or more school days. Unfortunately, most of these statistics continue into high school. This led Lamar Walker to create an application (app) called Snap2School, which utilizes modern technology to motivate kids to get to school on time.

Walker is a product of the Los Angeles Unified School District and LA Foster Youth Achievement Program. He launched the app in September 2014 when he saw the truancy rates in school continue to grow.

 “I saw a need between corporate America and the technology that students use on a daily basis and merged the two together to come up with Snap2School,” said Walker. He added that there was a “lack of incentive programs for students to want to get up every morning and actually be encouraged to go to school every day.”

Snap2School works by rewarding attendance with prizes such as tickets to amusement parks, coupons for fast food restaurants, free clothes and other prizes. First, a student must download the app to their phone and choose their school and district. Next, the student will see the current promotions offered near and around their campus and then “snap-in” to that promotion. Then, the student’s s choice goes to the back system or school dashboard, which is observed by a school liaison, who observes all students participating in the program. Finally, a random winner is chosen every day, weekly or every two weeks depending on the promotion but their school attendance is key.

“The liaison matches the snap-ins through the system with their attendance records to clarify that the [student] is the official winner of the prize,” said Walker.

The app was piloted on three campuses which include: Carson High School, Banning High School and Santee Education Complex. The app proved successful with 2,500 students participating between the three schools with 30%-40% of students participating in the app. As a result, the Snap2School app is currently being used on 34 campuses in Southern California.

“Our next goal is to host focus groups to get input from the students to see exactly what the Snap2School app might be missing,” said Walker.

Walker’s aim is to emphasize attendance in High Schools. Snap2School is growing exponentially throughout the Los Angeles County. His mission now is to partner with school administrations to run the attendance boosting system on all LAUSD campuses.

“We’ve create a community of students that wake up every morning and say, ‘you know what, I’m going to school today’,” said Walker. “I think that we’ve created a way where it’s more so a call of action—a community of students…show their love and they are ready to get up and go get that 4.0 [GPA].

“We’re at the final stage of getting final approval from the board of education. “ Snap2School is finalizing a partnership with the Board of Education to launch on all campuses in the coming weeks.

Walker is also looking for corporate sponsors as partners as most of the initial prizes have been compensated out of his own pocket. “My goal is to be able to partner with sponsors and community individuals to [help] Snap2School go as far as possible.”

Flyers show some of the prizes youth can when if they have a an acceptable attendance rate. (courtesy photo)


 

 Phyllis Williams has worked in LAUSD for 24 years having taught at Manual Arts High School. She feels that the Snap2School app is a positive way to get youth in track with their education.

“I’m all for students participating in their education in any way they feel they can,” said Williams. “I think the [app] is a great idea.

“I think that the response from over 8,000 students so far participating in that is great. We need to find ways of [engaging] our kids so that they will come to school, they will try and study and they will move forward.

“I think it’s a good idea.”

For more information, please visit www.Snap2School.com.

Categories: Education

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