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Attendance - no support.
Old 08-19-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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A student with a long track record of poor attendance already missed one day this week, and it is the first week of school. When I asked him why he was absent, he said, "I didn't feel good." Last year he had 30+ absences. He does not have a medical condition.

We have no support system in place for correcting poor attendance. The absences are counted and a SARB process exists, but it is absolutely useless. We do not have truancy officers, counselors, or anyone that oversees this. We used to have a parent liason that would do home visits, but that position was eliminated. The principal did make a home visit to make sure a child was safe and not being left at home alone. We have a situation in our community with parents who work graveyard and they leave their children alone and it is up to them to wake up on time and get to school.

For students who are gone one or two days every week, there really isn't anything the teacher can do about it. The secretary who is responsible for marking attendance does make phone calls home and requests doctor's notes, but the parents don't respond and then they're SARBed, to which they also don't respond to or care about.

I know in years past that if a parent received welfare, which most families do at our school, a portion of their benefits were cut if they didn't send their children to school regularly. I've only known that to happen once, and that was when we had a truancy department.

For those of you who are in a similar boat with no attendance support, what do you do other than pray for the situation to turn around?


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Old 08-19-2011, 11:39 AM
 
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We have terrible attendance with some or our students. I have had kids who missed 90+ days. I usually have at least one or two a year that miss tons. It drives me crazy but there is nothing we can do about it. We document, make phone calls, send letters, have meetings, threaten retention, etc. but when it comes right down to is there is nothing we can do and it's the child who suffers. I hate that we have no power to do anything. If we call social services they won't do anything unless the child is being abused, they don't consider missing school neglect. We have a few kids in older grades reading 2 years below grade level, when you check out their attendance they have missed the equivalent of two or more years of school. No wonder they are behind!

Wish I had a solution for it.
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:15 PM
 
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I had a student that started off the year with a ton of absences, and I know it was an issue in kindergarten. I went to my principal and said something had to be done. He agreed to draft up a letter and send it to the mother threatening that she could be taken to court for educational neglect. It didn't really help.

Then she came in one day to drop her DD off late, so the social worker and principal basically cornered her and talked to her about it. She blamed it on her DD and said that her DD complains of being sick. He said send her to school and we'll deal with it on our end (he complaints of being sick). He also told her that he was one step away from calling the county and that all absences were documented.

She came almost everyday after that.

There has to be something more that can be done. It is so sad. I had never experienced it until this last year.

I also had another student that was absent quite often. After being gone for 3 days I called home and spoke to her mom. I was really friendly and basically said I was calling to see how X was doing and that I missed her and "So, I will plan to see her tomorrow then!" She did come back. After more absences I asked the social worker to call her mom and give her the "threat" of calling and reporting her for educational neglect. She did and the girl came pretty much everyday after that.

My principal said that we can only do what we can do, and that we have to provide for the students when they are at school. It's up to the parents to do their part too. While I agree with that, it's not a perfect world, is it?
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agree with previous poster
Old 08-19-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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I agree with the previous poster. In my school we have told parents we would be taking them to court for educational neglect if their child didn't come to school on time and regularly. I would call your local child protection service and find out what the rules are for educational neglect. Having this legal information will come in handy when dealing with a parent.

Does your school/district have an attendance policy that you can use as a guideline? Can you call your union to see what you should do?

I do believe students getting any kind of assistance have a case worker. I would see if I could find out this person and speak to that person.

Attendance is an issue in my school also. I too make the call saying I'm checking up on the student and will they be there the next day. That usually works.

Good luck and thank you for caring so much. You must be one great teacher.
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Wow!
Old 08-19-2011, 02:32 PM
 
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We have truant officer in our very small county. He is great!


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And We Have No Control
Old 08-19-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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The Nation's shift to putting the blame on teachers for children who do not have success in academics has come to the point of teachers in the State of IL having student performance being a part of the teacher's evaluation - and our IEA agreed to it! Where is the parent component? I have no control over the children whether they come to school or not. Generally, chronic absences reflect poor academics. We do have a truant person who talks to the child about coming to school and rewards the child with a small token if school is not missed, but it really does nothing to stop the situation for most of those kids. Parents need to be held accountable for getting their kids to school every day and on time. No matter how much money is poured into a district or how entertaining a teacher may be, the academic situation in this Nation is not going to improve unless (parents) and caregiver(s) support education and good student attendance is one part of providing that support.
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I see...
Old 08-20-2011, 12:42 PM
 
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that I have to take matters into my own hands like many of you already do.

One of the big hurdles in our community is trying to communicate with non-English parents. We have to beg another staff member who is fluent to help us, and while they're wonderful and want to be supportive, they have their own tasks to see to. It simply isn't as effective communicating second-hand, but it is better than nothing. Even then, a lot of parents will agree over the phone but keep up with their same old tricks.

I am currently researching what the law is and will not hesitate to make avail of it if the situation requires it.

Thank you for the responses.
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Our assistant principal takes care of this.
Old 08-20-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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He tells us to email him when a child has been absent 5 times. Then he calls the parent or visits their home. If that doesn't get results, he takes our school resource officer with him. After that, SRS is called.
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Annoyed at that
Old 08-20-2011, 03:30 PM
 
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Quote:
I usually have at least one or two a year that miss tons. It drives me crazy but there is nothing we can do about it. We document, make phone calls, send letters, have meetings, threaten retention, etc. but when it comes right down to is there is nothing we can do and it's the child who suffers
This is EXACTLY how it works in my district...
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