School attendance is a powerful predictor of student outcomes. In fact, irregular attendance can be a better predictor of whether students will drop out of school before graduation than test scores, according to the US Department of Education.
Rhonda Lee, Jackson Parish School Board Instructional Supervisor for Child Welfare & Attendance is working hard to ensure that the students in Jackson Parish are present and accounted for each day. Each month her office tracks the attendance of students at every school in the Jackson Parish School District (JPSD).
Results for the month of January shows that student attendance ranged from 88.29% – 94.37% at all five schools of the JPSD.
While the numbers are better than many school districts across the state, Lee says they need to be better.
“I am raising awareness in the Jackson Parish School District that Attendance Matters,” said Lee. “Our goal for the district is 95% attendance for each school.”
In an effort to assist in improving the percentages, programs have also been instituted by the JPSD to recognize students who maintain perfect attendance. Students are receiving certificates every nine weeks for having perfect attendance and starting in March, students and teachers with perfect attendance will receive a certificate signed by the State Superintendent and JPSB Superintendent.
Parents assistance needed! Lee adds that in order for the goal of 95% attendance district wide to be reached parents must to their part.
“We can’t do it alone,” said Lee. “We need the parents to help us educate their children on the importance of being in school and by bringing them to school and having them at school on time.”
Why is this so important? The correlation between attendance and dropout rates has important ramifications that go beyond the classroom. Compared to their peers who graduate, students who fail to complete their high school education are more likely to live in poverty, suffer poor health, and become involved in the criminal justice system.
By working together not only will the attendance percentage increase, the facts are that the more days a student is in school the better prepared they are for the future.
As Lee states, “That is the ultimate goal we hope to achieve and your assistance is greatly appreciated.”
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