Summit (#1) on Dropouts: Summit 224 by HC12031016119

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									                            AGENDA SUMMARY SHEET

Agenda Item:          Information about Plans to Address Student Attendance Issues

Meeting Date:         July 22, 2008

Department:           Office of Superintendent

Description:          This is a description of the current plans to address attendance
                      issues.

Action Desired:       ______ Approval; ___X__ Discussion; _____ Information Only

Overview:
        One of the goals developed as a result of the Drop Out Summit meetings was goal
#4: Develop and implement a system to “drop” students when attendance suggests they
have moved from category 2 (potential dropout) to category 1 (dropout). This issue came
from the realization that too many students were missing dozens of days of classes. In
the district’s attempt to keep students enrolled as long as possible (a wonderful goal), we
were inadvertently sending a message that missing 17 or 24 or even 40 days of school in
a semester would not keep a student from the possibility of receiving credit. Teachers
and administrators expressed their belief that unchecked attendance was a major root
cause that impacted the number of dropouts in the district.

        The topic of student attendance was discussed in Dropout Summit meetings, in
High School Redesign meetings as well as in a specific meeting designed to develop
strategies to meet goal 4. The participants in the discussions were the following: Dee
Engstrom, Judy O’Brien, Melanie Shellberg, Fred Maher, Cyle Forney, Mike Johnson,
Todd Barnett, Connee Black, Al Vandenberg, Lois Schreur, Elaine Petersen, Phil Bruner,
Ron Diimig, Kathy Hanafan, Tara Botos, Ron Diimig, Ryan Smith, Tom Bond, Amy
Hanson, Carmen DeCinque, Ann Mausbach and Martha Bruckner.

        The major recommendations made and actions taken since the June 11th meeting
are included in this report.

Future Plans:
       We will communicate to students, parents, and staff that school attendance is
important. We will implement the recommendations at the beginning of the 2008 school
year and will evaluate their effectiveness regularly throughout the first semester.
Suggested procedures to meet Goal #4 of the Dropout Summit:
      Develop and implement a system to “drop” high school students when
      attendance suggests they have moved from category 2 (potential dropout) to
      category 1 (dropout).

Original strategies developed at Dropout Summits:
       Develop the message that school attendance is not optional
       Initiate a series of significant steps when attendance moves past a certain
           limit.
       Initiate an attendance campaign.
       Recruit mentors from Rotary, etc. to call or email students daily to check on
           attendance.
       Step up social norming process and follow-up publicity strategies.

Strategies planned for 2008-2009 at the high schools
        The district will assign Attendance Officers / Mediation Specialists at each of
           the high schools to work with students who have attendance problems. The
           individuals will not only serve high school students grades 10 through 12, but
           will serve as district Mediation Specialists for students grades K-9. As part of
           the responsibilities, the Mediation Specialists will also do monitoring of
           students who have gone through the mediation process.
               o The Attendance Officer for Thomas Jefferson will serve the following
               schools: Thomas Jefferson, Wilson Junior High School, Carter Lake,
               Edison, Franklin, Roosevelt, Rue, Walnut Grove Elementary Schools
               o The Attendance Officer for Abraham Lincoln will serve the following
               schools: Abraham Lincoln, Kirn Junior High School, Bloomer, Crescent,
               Gunn, Hoover, Lewis and Clark, Longfellow, Pusey, Washington
               Elementary Schools

          Each high school will assign building representatives to oversee attendance
           issues related to first year grade 9 students, at least until Mediation has been
           requested. When Mediation is requested, the Attendance Officer will become
           involved with 9th grade students.
               o Ninth grade students who are absent on days 1-3 and who are on the
                   “Attendance Watch List” should be contacted by a school
                   representative.
               o Ninth grade students will generally stay in classes even after serious
                   absences, although other strategies (Success Center, Credit Recovery,
                   Night School) might be recommended at the same time.
               o Prior to start of school, junior high school interventionists will get the
                   WATCH LIST of the most serious attendance issues for students
                   entering 9th grade. We should do something proactive for these
                   students this summer, and get going on the list almost immediately on
                   Day 1 if absences occur.
      The District will establish specific procedures for students with attendance issues
       in grades beyond first year 9th grade students.
       o Students who are absent on days 1-3 and who are on the “Attendance Watch
           List” should be contacted by a school representative.
       o Students with 15 unverified full day absences (or partial days – 4 or more
           classes) in a semester will be removed from traditional classes and placed in
           some transitional program designed to get the student back on track for
           success. The transitional programs may be at the school site, in credit
           recovery sessions, in night school, or at the Kanesville Transition Center.
       o Students with 15 verified absences for full day or partial day absences (4
           periods or more), will meet with an Attendance Committee (administrator,
           nurse, attendance officer, counselor, interventionist, SRO, parent, others as
           needed) to determine if credit can be salvaged in classes the student is
           attending or if medical issues would necessitate additional assistance for the
           student out of school. Arrangements will be made to meet the individual
           needs of the student. The student must meet the agreements with the
           Attendance Committee in order to remain in traditional classroom settings.
           (Note: the principal or designee can overrule the need to have a student go to
           the Attendance Committee if he/she believes that there are extenuating
           circumstances.)
       o Students will 15 absences for 3 or fewer periods will require a building-level
           decision about whether or not a shortened schedule would be in the best
           interests of the student. A conference will be held with student, teacher(s),
           parent, and administrator to see if credit can be saved. The student will be
           expected to follow the recommendations of the administrator after the
           meeting.
       o Students (and parents) will be given information about full day (or half day)
           absences on day 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15. (See Proposed list at the end of this
           document.)
       o An appeal process will be established for students and parents to seek a
           second opinion at the building level.
       o It will be possible for students to make up work in classes missed while in a
           transition program if there is a reasonable way to assure that the student is
           learning major content.

Proposed List of Actions Related to Truancy (Unverified Absences):
      3 absences = Notification (Personal Contact) *
      6 absences = Interventionist Involvement / Counselor Involvement *
      9 absences = Interventionist/ Counselor / Parent Meeting, perhaps to restructure
             schedule *
      12 absences = County Attorney, Department of Education, Academic Center
             Involvement *
      15 absences = Removal from traditional classrooms at building OR restructure
      schedule*
                   * Different Letter Goes Home at Each Event Above.
Proposed List of Actions Related to Verified Absences:
      3 absences = Notification (Personal Contact) **
      6 absences = Interventionist Involvement / Counselor Involvement **
      9 absences = Interventionist/ Counselor / Parent Meeting, perhaps to restructure
             schedule ** (May include manifestation hearing, permission to contact
             employer, notification of Social Security, attendance plan, establishment
             of attendance mentor.)
      12 absences = County Attorney, Department of Education, Academic Center
             Involvement **
      15 absences = Removal from traditional classrooms at building if appropriate,
      decision for home bound tutor if appropriate, OR restructure schedule**
                   ** Different Letter Goes Home at Each Event Above.


   The committee recommended other considerations / things TO DO:
    Consider a PR blitz during last part of summer: Be in School. Attendance is
      Important. Include print media, Chamber of Commerce, calls to students with
      attendance issues.
    Consider (re) sending letter to doctors about the importance of attendance.
    Find process through which – if kids can’t afford doctor, we attempt to bring them
      in to see the school nurse so absence can be excused.
    Develop WATCH LIST for attendance for each high school and alternative
      center. (Top 35 9th graders; perhaps top 35 10th, 11th, 12th graders.)
    Meet with police representatives concerning use of resource officers in limiting
      truancy.
    Develop letters related to attendance (all grade levels).
    Hold teachers accountable for keeping accurate track of absences.
    Determine if and how we might use the Resource Officer to assist with truancy.
    Determine processes through which driver’s license is turned in if student leaves
      school.
    Determine ways that the Pinnacle grade book software and new “Messenger” can
      assist in the process.
    Determine how system software can ease the process and compile helpful reports.

Recommendation by the committee concerning elementary school and Junior high
school:

District needs to establish and implement specific procedures for students with
attendance issues, grades K-6 and for grades 7-8. A sample set of procedures could
include letter after 4 absences, letter after 7 absences, potential mediation after 9 absences
(unless there is justifiable reason for absences). Building representative should send out
letters with copy to Mediation Specialists.

								
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