Recently passed federal legislation will require school districts to increase student attendance, show that students are making adequate yearly progress and ensure students are graduating on time.
So it's become imperative that districts adopt strong attendance policies and enforce them.
Since April 2003, personnel from the Crosby-Ironton, Brainerd and Pequot School Lakes school districts have been meeting once a month with members of the Local Advisory Council, Crow Wing County Collaborative Services, Social Services, the county attorney and others to develop an attendance policy for all of Crow Wing County.
The goal is for all school districts in the county to have a standardized policy that every student have regular school attendance and that no student have more than five absences from school in a year.
This policy stresses the importance of developing good attendance habits as early as kindergarten. Having good attendance and being on time is vital for success in school and in life after school.
The policy also attempts to meet the needs of students with attendance issues by evaluating cause, specifying appropriate diversions to improve attendance and, finally, consequences for continued poor attendance.
The policy has been or soon will be presented to the individual school boards for their approval and adoption. It also will be presented to county commissioners for their approval.
The policy stresses that class attendance is a joint responsibility of student, parent or guardian, teacher and administrators. The new policy is intended to assist students in attending classes.
Students and parents can get assistance with school-related issues, such as attendance and tardiness, if help is needed, and should feel free to ask school personnel for help.
(Spotlight on Children's Mental Health is sponsored by the Crow Wing County Local Advisory Council on Children's Mental Health.)
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