Racine's Starbuck MS holds virtual Spirit Week ahead of 3rd Friday

Friday, Sept. 18 marks a pivotal day for Wisconsin public schools. Attendance on the third Friday of the school year is recorded -- and send to the Department of Public Instruction. The data then helps the state allocate funding. It is also why a Racine middle school took an inside-the-classroom approach to keep their student motivated.

Inside Starbuck Middle School, there is little proof class is even in session. Hallways are quiet and lockers are empty. The remote start to the school year brought a challenge for administrators.

Inside Starbuck Middle School, Racine

Inside Starbuck Middle School, Racine

"The question was, how do we really get our kids engaged and wanting to log on every day -- and really excited about logging on every day?" said Sara Wroblewski, Starbuck Middle School assistant principal.

The answer -- a virtual spirit week -- providing students some incentive to log on and see how their classmates and teachers are taking part in the day's theme.

Spirit Week at Starbuck Middle School, Racine

Spirit Week at Starbuck Middle School, Racine

Earlier this week, there were staff-made TikToks. On Thursday, there was a "Guess your teacher" game for Throwback Thursday. 

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"It's kind of cool because we're online, but we're actually doing what we would do in school," said Grace Felle, 6th-grader.

Spirit Week at Starbuck Middle School, Racine

Spirit Week at Starbuck Middle School, Racine

"It (Spirit Week) gives you different ways to express different feelings," said Alejandro Munoz, 7th-grader.

It is a small team-building exercise at minimum.

"When it's spirit week, you participate, and you join and do everything else with everyone else. It brings you together," said Amaya Cranley, 6th-grader.

Starbuck Middle School, Racine

Starbuck Middle School, Racine

But it is all about emphasizing the importance of attendance -- even remotely -- to build up to Friday when the count matters. The better the attendance on Friday, the more money the state will give that school to cover salaries for faculty and staff, learning resources, and more.

"They can't come here in person, so we have to make sure that they're logged on to be able to count them for attendance," Wroblewski said.

Sara Wroblewski, Starbuck Middle School assistant principal

Sara Wroblewski, Starbuck Middle School assistant principal

As administrators hope the week's momentum results in strong turnout on Friday, the attendance data from Friday -- as well as the second Friday in January -- will help form budgets for the 2021-2022 school year.

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