Celebrating Support Professionals: Dini Guay, Attendance Clerk at Jackson Heights

student and staff member smiling behind office desk with green turtle hall pass“We have a nickname for her,” begins Jackson Heights Principal Carrie Mauro. “It’s ‘Dr. Dini’ because she will often determine the problem (diagnose it), and then come up with a remedy or solution!”

Ms. Mauro is talking about Dini Guay, attendance clerk at Jackson Heights Elementary School. And her job involves much more than handing out green “Tardy Turtle” hall passes and managing the front door.

“As the school attendance clerk, I maintain the student’s attendance records and work closely with the parents and visitors who enter the main office,” Mrs. Guay says. “I think in this position you need to be a good listener to both parents and students who come in with concerns and questions.”

“She is the perfect person to great anyone as they enter Jackson Heights,” says Ms. Mauro. “She has saved the day by making needed phone calls, helping provide team member coverage, and her genuine, kind approach to people. Dini is our go-to staff person!”

Mrs. Guay sends building-wide daily bulletins that start with a positive quote, note staff meetings and assemblies, and list any faculty or staff member absences and the name of the substitute covering the class. She also helps collect and publish the “Starfish Stories of the Day,” in which an adult describes how a student has made a positive difference for another member of the Jackson Heights school community. These actions could include holding the door open for someone, helping a younger student tie his shoes, or even mastering multiplication and division facts.

“It’s rewarding to see happy students come into the main office for ‘student of the week’ or when they accomplish a good deed and tell me about it,” smiles Mrs. Guay.

person smiling while handing a green turtle hall pass to a student through window

Her daily data entry helps build the calculations for the school’s “Be On Time to Shine” attendance program, which aims to reduce the number of late arrivals or avoidable absences from school.

“Students who are on time on a daily basis and have a good attendance record are more likely to succeed in the future with academics and onto their careers,” notes Mrs. Guay.

From her point of view behind the attendance window, she sees technology advancing the way she provides service to the educational team in Glens Falls. “Technology definitely has changed and helped inputting attendance data into the eSchool program,” she notes. “Many years ago, I believe it was all done manually.” Working through the eSchool database, Mrs. Guay can quickly provide teachers with more complete information about students’ whereabouts, no matter when they arrive. All teachers need to do is check a screen within the program, and the information is at their fingertips. And that’s all because of Mrs. Guay’s diligence and multi-tasking in the main office each day.

Mrs. Guay grew up in Houston, Texas. She came to the Glens Falls area in 2000, which was a homecoming for her husband, who’s originally from this region. She has served students and the broader school community at Jackson Heights Elementary for 4 years. On weekends she likes to walk her dog and practice yoga.