Laura Schultz, principal of Baltimore Talent Development High School in Baltimore City, walks the hallways every chance she gets.
On the walls of most of those hallways, right above the words, “We miss you when you’re not here, come to school every day” is an attendance chart pinned to a bulletin board. The charts are incredibly specific; attendance for each grade is updated daily for the monthly average, and is calculated out to two decimal points.
“You’ve got to keep it on people’s minds,” says Schultz.
The school is in Baltimore’s Harlem Park neighborhood, one of the city’s most poverty-stricken areas. Graduation rates are notoriously lower than average in such areas, but Baltimore Talent Development has managed to show enviable results, with graduation statistic that dwarfs those of nearby public schools in Baltimore.
They’ve done it using a specialized program designed by Johns Hopkins University researchers. But more importantly, the school’s leaders say, Talent Development boosts kids’ graduation potential by building long-term, trusting relationships between students and staff.