Schools taking proactive approach to addressing chronic absentee - - Jackson, MS

Schools taking proactive approach to addressing chronic absenteeism

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Too many of the state's public school students are racking up absences. A national report revealed nearly 10 percent of the students have a chronic absence issue.

Pearl High School is taking a new approach to accountability when it comes to its absentee policy. Three days absent and the student's parents will get a call. They rack up five and the school's new dropout prevention manager will make contact with your family. 

"You may find some underlying reasons on why that kid may not be at school today or missing these days," explained Master Chief Willie Lott.

Master Chief Willie Lott prefers talking with them face-to-face.

"There's some that will tell me, Master Chief you know I really don't like you coming over to my house," he explained. "Oh good, no problem. You know how I fix that? Come to school. Come to school."

Lott wants to make sure those students know they're glad to see them once they walk back through these doors. And Principal Chris Chism has already seen success in the program they implemented last year.

"We set those cuts honestly just to keep a constant track on our kids," noted Chis. "But I can tell you missing three days in a row, missing four days in a row, there are some kids that can't recover from that with the increased academic standards."

In Clinton, they're pushing parents to understand how imperative attendance is, even at the lower levels.

"When students are being taught how to read, missing chronic days at that level when the foundations are being built, that has a domino effect many years down the road," said Clinton Superintendent Dr. Tim Martin. "So, we're trying to have incentives to provide things for students that are there."

In Clinton, the parents are told to call the school every day that the child won't be in class. Attendance clerks will call if they don't. Once the number of unexcused days reaches five, they get the attendance officers available through the Department of Education involved.

To view the Mississippi Department of Education release about absentee issues, click here. To view the state by state breakdown from the national analysis, click here.

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