At 7:15 on a chilly May morning, Marshall Metro High School attendance clerk Karin Henry punched
numbers into a telephone, her red nails clacking as she dialed.
“Good morning, Miss MeMe,” she said to Barbara “MeMe’ Diamond, a 17-year-old junior with a habit
of oversleeping. “This is Ms. Henry, your stalker.”
The timing of the call was key. Earlier in the year, Ms. Henry and a coworker were spending nearly two
hours a day calling every student who hadn’t checked into school by 9:30 a.m. But weekly data tracked
by their office found that only about 9% of those students ever arrived. So they changed tactics, zeroing
in on habitual latecomers like MeMe, and delivering wake-up calls starting at 6:30. On that May
morning, 19 of the 26 students called showed up. “I just stay in bed if no one calls me,” MeMe said.
“That 6:30 call be bugging me, but it gets me here.”
District officials are betting that data—the relentless collection, evaluation, and application of them—
can serve as a wake-up call for Marshall as well.