Professional soccer players with Real Salt Lake have a message for Canyons District students: Show up for school and work hard, because no matter your personal goals, education is your ticket to the game of life.
RSL, which is headquartered in CSD’s boundaries, is offering a special incentive this year in support of Canyons District’s campaign to encourage students to “Be Great, Miss Less Than Eight” school days. Every student who meets the “miss less than eight” challenge will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a VIP Experience at RSL, which includes four tickets to a regular season game, a pregame dinner, pregame sideline access and player signatures.
Two students from every school also will receive prizes for their efforts. The winners will be announced toward the end of the 2019-2020 school year in mid-May.
As Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Andrew Putna knows, when it comes to scoring big in the classroom, or the soccer field, every day of instruction or practice counts. Putna made his major league soccer debut in 2018 in covering for injured RLS goalie Nick Rimando, and finished the 2019 season with two shutouts in six appearances.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/9DwPdAcrQV4″ frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
But he got his start at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) where he served as team captain his junior and senior year and broke several UIC records. “School put me on the pathway to be a professional soccer player,” says Putna in a video to announce the attendance incentive. “It gave me the direction to be drafted by Real Salt Lake. Without it I wouldn’t be here.”
If education opens doors, it also gives you something to fall back on, says former Utah Royals FC player Alexandra Kimball, a native of Salt Lake, who was drafted from the University of North Carolina and sidelined last year due to an injury. “Before you’re an athlete, you’re a student-athlete, so making sure you go to class and you’re there on time and you go every day is definitely important,” she says.
Consistency is the key, she adds. “Work hard. Don’t stop. It will all be worth it in the end.”
Indeed, just a few absences, even excused absences, can contribute to students falling behind in reading, writing and math, research shows and traditionally, November is the month when CSD schools begin to see absences rise.
Some absences are unavoidable and tied to the flu season or extended family travel plans over the holiday breaks. But skipping just one day every other week can easily put a student over the “miss less than eight” threshold. Four out of five students who miss two days per month of kindergarten and first grade, for example, are unable to read on-level by the third grade. By the sixth-grade, excessive absenteeism is a warning sign of a student not graduating from high school.
But it’s never too late to get back on track. CSD’s Responsive Services Department offers these helpful tips:
- Your school staff is here to help!
- Familiarize yourself with the attendance rules found on your school and District websites
- Use CSD’s Family Access Skyward portal to monitor attendance and grades for your student
- Make an appointment with your school administration or counselor for additional student support
- Set goals with your student regarding daily attendance
It’s your education, so give it your best shot, says RSL defender Donny Tioa. “Let’s be great, miss less than eight.”