McLean’s “No Tardy Taters” receiving national recognition

McLean Science and Technology Magnet’s initiative to cut down on student tardies is getting some national recognition from Randy Sprick’s Safe and Civil Schools program. This year, McLean’s teachers developed the “No Tardy Taters” program as a positive way to remind students about the importance of coming to school on time.

Each class has a Mr. Potato Head and every day all of the students are on time, Mr. Potato Head gets a piece of his body. When the toy has ten pieces, the class gets a certificate and a cartoon potato to post in the hall and a No Tardy Party. The No Tardy Parties are simple ways for the class to celebrate, such as wearing pajamas, bringing a stuffed animal to class, wearing silly socks, hats or crazy hair.

“Most of the time they are late because the parents are not getting them to school on time, so having the students stay after school as a consequence wasn’t making a difference,” said Mendie Vicin, principal. “This way, the kids are excited about it and they tell their parents about the importance of getting to school on time so their class can get another piece. And the students encourage each other to get to school on time.”

The program is working. In the 12-13 school year, McLean had 224 tardies in the first quarter and 350 tardies in the second quarter. This year, the tardies dropped to 115 for the first quarter and 179 in the second quarter.

The program and the data caught the attention of Randy Sprick with Safe and Civil Schools. Sprick is revising the Foundations program with a module on Positive School Climate and the No Tardy Taters program will be included in the module as an example for other schools across the country to use.

Vicin said other district schools have asked about it to see if they can implement it in their buildings.

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