Parents: If you’re looking for a way to make sure your kids stay in school, then check out a new student monitoring program known as “AIM.” According to ABC News, AIM stands for Attendance Improvement Management. It’s a five year-old program that’s currently used in dozens of schools across Texas, and it’s been so successful at improving student attendance, that officials plan to expand AIM into more schools in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
How does it work? Basically, students who’ve had at least 10 unexcused absences from school, and who are in danger of being sent into juvenile detention, may be ordered by a judge to carry a GPS monitoring device for six full weeks. Then, each day, students are required to punch in a special code on their device as soon as they arrive at school, while also checking in with a counselor. If the device detects the student isn’t where they’re supposed to be, they’ll get a phone call. If that all sounds a bit “big brother” to you, that’s the point.
Brian Dooley is a spokesman for AIM who says the GPS monitor is meant to send an obvious message to students, that they need to take more responsibility for their actions. AIM’s research has shown that students who do well with that kind of responsibility tend to build greater self confidence. Meanwhile, the mentoring a student receives from their counselor helps them see the value of staying in school, while encouraging them to graduate. Why’s that important? Because statistics show that dropping out of school is often just the first step in a potential life of crime. Consider that nearly half of all inmates in North America’s jail system never graduated high school!
As you might expect, critics of the program worry that it violates basic privacy rights, but so far, statistics have shown that AIM actually works. In fact, schools that use AIM have reported a dramatic rise in daily attendance, and at least half of the students enrolled went on to graduate!