Chronic absenteeism declining for USD 253 Emporia Public Schools Featured

Chronic absenteeism declining for USD 253 Emporia Public Schools Tagan Trahoon/KVOE News

USD 253 Emporia Board of Education members received a close up look at this year's chronic absenteeism data, along with two in-depth presentations on programs and services looking to help quell the trend Wednesday evening.

Associate Executive Director of Assessments and Accountability Dr. Ryan Karjala presented the data during the board's regular meeting which showed a slight drop in chronically absent students from the 2018-19 school year to the beginning of 2020. The exact drop was roughly three percent as the 2018-19 academic year saw a total of 846 students with chronic absences as opposed to just 699 as of Jan. 17 of this year.

Karjala says chronic absenteeism can be the result of a multitude of factors from lack of transportation and an interest in school to bullying. Karjala says at this time the district's numbers are slightly above the state average, however, he does not feel it will remain so for long.

When it comes to combating this trend, Karjala gave a lot of credit to both District Student and Family Resource Specialist Heather Wagner and the district's Migrant Education Program led by Patrica Saenz-Reyes, both of which gave in-depth presentations regarding their services Wednesday evening. Both are centered around helping remove the barriers between students and education in order to help them succeed both in the classroom and beyond after graduation.

Karjala feels over the past four years since the state began tracking chronic absences the district has also been able to further identify underlying issues that contribute to students missing an abundance of classes. By doing this the district has then been able to provide students with the services they need in order to help keep them in the classroom whether it is through Wagner, the Migrant Education Program or any other means.

 

Karjala says the district will be continuing to monitor and evaluate chronic absences and look for more ways to help address the issue for the foreseeable future.

The USD 253 Board of Education will next meet on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 pm inside the Mary Herbert Education Center.

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