DeKalb County School students who miss 18 school days per year-regardless of the cause-will be considered chronically absent under a new regulation from the State Department of Education. The number of chronically absent students will also reflect on the overall performance score given to the school system.
Joey Reeder, the school system’s Attendance Supervisor, reports that beginning with the 2017-18 school year the state will be using a new accountability measure called the Chronically Out-of-School Indicator. “Students that miss more than 10 percent of the school year, for any reason, are considered chronically out of school. This would typically be students that miss 18 or more school days out of our 180-day school year calendar,” reported Reeder.
DeKalb County Supervisors of Instruction Mrs. Michelle Burklow, Pre-K-5 and Dr. Kathy Bryant, 6-12 also report that there is strong evidence that absenteeism has a profound influence on student academic outcomes. Absenteeism reduces academic achievement, increases the risk for future attendance problems, and diminishes the probability of receiving a high school diploma. Bryant and Burklow added, “The Chronically Out-of-School Indicator is one out of six of our district accountability indicators and one out of eight at the school level. This will be a factor in determining the overall rating of both the district and school.”
Director of Schools Patrick Cripps said, “During the 2017-18 school year we will increase our efforts at the district, school and classroom levels to improve the attendance of all students. However, this will not be an overnight process. We have to keep in mind that while we can help many students with chronic absenteeism issues, there are other matters beyond the control of the students or their families.” Cripps added, “We are fortunate the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Board of Education realize the importance of having a nurse in each school to assist primary care physicians to properly care for our students with chronic conditions."
Reeder agrees, “The key to improving school attendance and avoiding truancy issues begins with clear communication between parents and schools.” He said, “We understand that family emergencies arise and things happen that are beyond the control of our students or their families. When situations such as this occur, we ask that parents communicate with the school. Through this communication, the school can often help manage the family’s situation without adding the stress of missing school and falling behind in school work.” If you have any questions concerning school attendance, please call 615-215-2102.