Pioneer Elementary School has set five goals for the 2013-14 school year, including providing resources to at-risk students, improving attendance, increasing collaboration for student support, developing staff and augmenting communication between school staff and parents. 

Kindergarten and Pre-K classes can be tough on children who are attending school for the first time —  which is also the case for some students at Pioneer Elementary. 

“Pioneer’s unique,” said Lisa Budarf, principal of Pioneer Elementary. “We’ve got kids that are starting their educational career, which is huge. The tone we set here and the goals that we establish here are kind of the patterns we set for the rest of their educational process.”

Budarf said that recognizing and assisting students with low socioeconomic statuses is important, as they are often at-risk of low attendance due to low household income, family illness, lack of transportation or a language barrier.

Through its second goal, Pioneer Elementary is focusing on implementing good attendance at an early age.

“It’s probably most important at this campus because the habits we establish with them carries out year after year,” Budarf said. “When we start to notice a pattern of students missing school without proper documentation, or if they’re excessively absent, we start setting up meetings with counselors and staff.” 

The principal added that decreased attendance is often the result of a transportation or illness issue.

“It’s documented and proven that when a kid reaches that 10 percent (mark) of absenteeism, they start to lose ground,” she said. 

Increasing avenues for student support is also an important goal for Pioneer. 

In an effort to focus on students needing educational intervention, the school has changed to accommodate these needs.

Read more in Wednesday's Graham Leader.