School district targeting chronic absentee rating

School district targeting chronic absentee rating
Jonesboro Public Schools experiencing record student growth this school year. (Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A new study is out and absentee ratings are up in schools across Arkansas.

It's a problem catching the attention of school districts right here in Region 8.

Arkansas has a state average absentee rating of 14 percent.

But several Region 8 school districts rate even higher, with Jonesboro Public Schools at 22.3 percent.

It's all according to a new report by the Hamilton Project.

Now this data is from the 2015-2016 school year, but Superintendent Dr. Kim Wilbanks said it's an issue they've begun watching more closely.

Over the years, she said they've noticed an increase and are now working to implement programs to target those students who are chronically absent.

It starts with teachers talking one on one with students, administrators monitoring data, and getting parents on board.

"I would hope that parents would realize how valuable the time is that a student is in the classroom," Wilbanks said. "There is just no substitute for being in a classroom every day receiving instruction from a qualified teacher."

Dr. Wilbanks said, a lot of times, things at home are the root of chronic absence.

And this year, with their heightened awareness of the trend, she hopes the district is able to catch multiple absences early and address whatever the reason may be.

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