Friday, February 20, 2009

SLPS News Release Attendance Officers help at-risk students

Press Release


February 20, 2009

Contact: Julie Linder

(314) 345-2367

Attendance Officers help at-risk students

Attendance Gains Illustrates Success of Comprehensive Long Range Plan

ST. LOUIS, MO, February 20, 2009 Last week Dr. Dan Edwards, Assistant Superintendent for St. Louis Public Schools, presented a report to the Special Administrative Board detailing efforts by the District on improving student attendance.

Increasing school attendance was identified as one of the twelve “critical and urgent objectives” as identified in the District’s Comprehensive Long Range Plan. Long Range Plan Chairman and SAB member Richard Gaines challenged each person on the committee to consider new and innovative approaches to solving or at least appreciably remediating historical problems.

Leadership at SLPS determined the best approach would be to identify those students who were often absent and attempt to increase attendance collectively for all high schools by two percent.

For the 2008-2009 school year the District hired attendance monitors to associate with parents, students and staff to closely monitor attendance of students and intensify interventions when problems arose. As part of the job description these attendance monitors must have a deep affinitive for seeing the schools achieve. Most hired had graduated from the school, or have a child or grandchild who attend or attended the school or worked in another role at the school prior to serving.

In addition to hiring attendance officers, St. Louis Public Schools developed teams composed of attendance officers, data processing specialists, social workers and a site administrator to increase attendance in the schools. This entails calling parents daily, meeting students at the door each morning, going to homes and making referrals to agencies when appropriate to resolve the issues that hinder students from attending schools.

Thirteen schools hired attendance monitors and saw a net increase of more than 3.43% in attendance. Two schools in particular saw dramatic increases in attendance, Vashon High School with 11.7% and Roosevelt High School with 8.7%. In addition, nine of the 13 schools experienced growth ranging 0.3%-5.7%. Two schools, Metro Academic and Classical High School and Clyde C. Miller Career Academy, are developing new initiatives for the upcoming school year.

SLPS will continue to monitor the progress of the attendance officers and of the identified objectives in the comprehensive long range plan and report consistently on progresses. For more information please contact 314-345-2367.



Patrick Wallace, APR

Executive Director of Communications

St. Louis Public Schools

Office: (314) 345-2227

Cell: (314) 420-5782

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