Local school districts face attendance challenges

3 years 1 week 4 days ago Thursday, October 08 2015 Oct 8, 2015 Thursday, October 08, 2015 5:29:00 PM CDT October 08, 2015 in News
By: Nicole Shaddy, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

FULTON - The U.S. Department of Education is looking to crack down on school attendance across the country--something that some local school districts battle every day.

The Education Department announced the Obama Administration's "Every Student, Every Day" initiative yesterday, asking local public school districts to create programs that cut down on chronic absenteeism. According to the Education Department, chronic absenteeism means a child isn't in school at least 10 percent of the time during the year, or about 18 days. As many as 7.5 million children in the United States are chronically absent each year.

Fulton Public Schools Superintendent Jacque Cowherd said chronic absenteeism has always been an issue, and a lot of it stems from a child's family life.

"Poverty's a heck of a problem, and when you have poverty issues you have issues of non-attendance a lot of the time, not always," Cowherd said. "When you get into some of the issues you have poor home life or an abundance of criminal activity in the home or parents incarcerated."

According to the Education Department, elementary school children who are chronically absent are less likely to read at grade level by third grade. And in high school, attendance records are better indicators of dropout rates than test scores. 

Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education uses attendance as a factor in its Missouri School Improvement Program, which reviews and accredits all 520 school districts in the state. According to DESE spokesperson Sarah Potter, the state has used what's called the 90-90 rule for evaluating school attendance for several years.

The 90-90 rule is the state's goal for school district attendance. The state wants school districts to have at least 90 percent of students attending school 90 percent of the time. This is how they measure for chronic absenteeism in individual districts. 

According to DESE data, the Columbia Public School District fell just shy of the 90 percent mark as of 2014. The district's 90 percent attendance rate landed at 88.2 percent for the 2014 school year. According to Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark, it can be extremely challenging to increase attendance rates when family and community environments play such a big role.

"Ideally we'd like to do more but we can only spread out the resources so far," Baumstark said.

Fulton Public Schools also fell short, with a 90 percent attendance rate of 88.3 percent in 2014. However, Cowherd said their most recent data indicate their 90 percent attendance rate is actually just below 90 percent, at 89.69 percent. Even though they haven't reached the 90 percent mark just yet, they've increased attendance by almost 4 percent since 2012. The district's 90 percent attendance rate was 85.9 percent in 2012. Cowherd said this jump has a lot to do with several intervention programs they've implemented since then.

One example is the free breakfast program in Fulton elementary schools, which was implemented this year. Now, every elementary school student in the district gets a free breakfast upon arrival every morning.

"The biggest issue that we see is breaking down and getting into that home life, and breaking up some of these cycles of poverty, and breaking up some of the other issues that we have trouble controlling," Cowherd said.

He said the most important thing schools can do is provide an engaging and safe environmment that kids want to come to every day.

"It's again, having the principals and administrators and teachers in the hall, and trying to create a welcoming environment, knowing kids' names, recognizing them when they come in, and making them want to come there," Cowherd said.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke about health care in Columbia on Friday at Laborers Local 955, as part of... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:35:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - After realizing the underrepresentation of Hispanic business owners in mid-Missouri, three Hispanic professionals established a group of 12... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - This is the last week of the regular season and it's a cold one. Our game of... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:20:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA - Two Midwest companies issued separate food recalls this week for bacterial contamination concerns. Hy-Vee said its supplier,... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 4:53:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN (AP) — Toxicology tests show that a boater was drunk when he slammed into a bluff at Missouri's Lake... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:41:35 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Legion of Black Collegians and the FourFront Marginalized Student Council held a solidarity walk Friday to show... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA), along with multiple medical associations, reaffirmed their opposition to the three... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:50:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For the fourth consecutive year, Project Homeless Connect provided services Friday for people who are experiencing homelessness... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to an estimated $1 billion, as the second-largest lottery... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 12:10:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police want the public's help finding a man who allegedly ran from a traffic stop after hurting... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 11:42:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Two MU residence halls and an atrium were officially dedicated on Friday honoring three former MU students. Lucile... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 10:09:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Just 1 in 4 people thinks Brett Kavanaugh was completely honest when as a Supreme Court nominee... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 9:58:13 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The US moved closer to acknowledging the role of Saudi Arabia in journalist Jamal Khashoggi's apparent death as... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 9:36:16 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
RANDOLPH COUNTY - MoDOT announced they will close Randolph County Route CC from Route FF to Route K on Monday,... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 8:30:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
FLORISSANT (AP) — Authorities have arrested a suburban St. Louis student after finding a loaded gun and a razor inside... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:46:15 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man has been sentenced to life in prison in the 1984 beating death... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:10:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City doctor has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for his... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 6:51:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican opponent Josh Hawley were sometimes heated and often derisive as they... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 9:02:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
9pm 55°
10pm 55°
11pm 55°
12am 54°