GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – When it comes to students absorbing as much of their education as possible, it’s important to be present the classroom.
Maranda had the chance to interview Mark Larson, the Attendance officer from Kent ISD about the issue of skipping school and how often it happens in classrooms.
Take a look at some of these attendance statistics:
- Less than half of students who missed more than 9 days of both Kindergarten and First Grade could read at grade level
- Only 17% of students who missed 18 days of both Kindergarten and First Grade could read at grade level
- 80 percent of all dropouts have a high level of absenteeism
- 90 percent of all students in detention for delinquent acts have a history of absenteeism
- 87 percent of the current prison population has a history of truancy
- 50 percent or more of all heads of households on welfare had a history of absenteeism and dropped out of high school
- The number one predictor of dropout potential is sixth grade attendance less than 80%
Maranda also took a trip to Kent Innovation High School to play a game of True or False with the students to see if they knew the consequences of skipping school.
Maranda turns to the experts, Ronald DeVries, PhD, Licensed Psychologist from Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and Anthony Muller, the Director of Clinical and Business Development at Wedgwood Christian Services for some answers.
She posed the question to kids in high school, “why do you think your peers are skipping class” and together, DeVries and Muller replied to the students’ prompts and provided some perspective as to how kids can become more engaged in their education.
After providing their answers as to why students may be skipping school, DeVries and Muller turned to putting an emphasis on how parents can help prevent it all together by emphasizing the importance of education from a young age.
DeVries’ points were:
- Emphasize kids have to go to school (non-negotiable)
- Reinforce the positives
- Meet your child’s teachers, counselors and staff
- Support building friends
Muller’s points were:
- Talk with your kids about their likes and dislikes
- Learn about their assignments
- Help problem solve
- Celebrate achievements, no matter how small
Next, Maranda chatted with Judge Kathleen Feeny, the Presiding Judge of the Family Division from the Kent County Circuit Court.
Judge Feeny outlined some of the legal troubles she sees in her courtroom from kids missing too much school.
Judge Feeny informed Maranda:
- Children age six to 18 must attend school during the entire school year.
- A parent or guardian who fails to return a child to regular school attendance may face fines, jail time or both.
- In addition to the parent, the child can be charged with a juvenile status offence.
Mark also joined Maranda one last time to let families know how schools can help. For example, school leaders will work with you to create a success plan for school attendance for your child. Plus, your school and Kent ISD can connect you with resources to help you overcome obstacles that may keep your child from attending school.
The goal is for all students to attend school regularly and succeed in their educational programs.