Washington Elementary held its first TAPP (Tribal Attendance Promising Practices) Dinner on Thursday, October 26, 2023. TAPP is a program focused on supporting the attendance of Native students in nine Oregon school districts. Pendleton School District is one of those districts.
At the October dinner, student and their families gathered in the school cafeteria to share pizza from Big John’s. Halloween costumes were welcome, and students played games like pumpkin bean bag toss and decorated bags they could use for trick or treating.
Stacey Jacobs is the TAPP Family Advocate for the Pendleton School District. She organizes three dinners each school year with the intention of fostering connection between Native students/families and the school and helping adults feel comfortable in the school. At the October dinner, she presented certificates to students who had perfect attendance.
Every month, Jacobs has a drawing for students who have 95% attendance or higher for the month; there is a winner from each grade. For October, students won a huge art kit. Jacobs also has a drawing for kids who have 100% attendance. They receive a Wildcat hoodie with the TAPP logo on the back and the Umatilla word for Wildcats.
New this year, Jacobs gives students full-size candy bars on their birthday. Jacobs said she noticed how many students did not come to school on their birthdays, so this is an incentive because they have to be at school on that day to receive the candy. If their birthday is on the weekend, they get it on the Friday before. Jacobs said one student told her the day before his birthday he was going to stay home but would have a friend stop by for his candy. “I explained he had to be here on his birthday to receive it. He wasn’t very happy, but guess what? He came to school the next day, so it’s working!” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said she was happy with the participation at the first TAPP Dinner for the 23-24 school year. “It’s always great to have our families together in our school,” Jacobs said.
The next TAPP Dinner is the holiday one on December 14, 2023.