- Sponsorship -

County weighs in on attendance campaign

The straightforward message behind “Strive for Less than 5”, the countywide campaign to reduce absences: The more school a child misses, the further they fall behind and the more at risk they are of eventually dropping out.

Kent ISD and Kent County hosted a media briefing recently at the Kent County Building to share that message, backed by statistics presented by Kent ISD data analyst Sunil Joy. There is a 14 percent gap in third-grade reading scores between students who are chronically absent and those who aren’t, with the impact much worse for low-income students, Joy said. Also, students who have been chronically absent every year since kindergarten are performing at levels lower than those never chronically absent.

To address the issue, Kent ISD districts recently created a common definition for chronic absenteeism: missing 10 percent or more school days. Ten percent translates to two days per month or 18 days in a 180-day school year. Then they created the campaign, including flyers, posters, yard signs and a video, with the help of sponsors.

Kent County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Feeney said she helps to connect students who end up in front of her for truancy with transportation, mental health services, housing programs, removing whatever barrier might be keeping them from school.

“We are trying to impress upon parents that they need to take children to school all day every day,” she said. “It all starts with attendance. They have to show up to be successful.”

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


Longtime volunteer does whatever’s needed for school: ‘I love being here’

A 24-year parent and grandparent volunteer tends to student and family needs at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy...

Lessons from a pandemic: ‘agile learners’ need ‘agile adults’

Reflecting on the end of fall semester and 2020, Superintendent Dedrick Martin sat down with School News Network to discuss how Caledonia adapted to school closures, virtual learning and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic...

It’s all about getting students back to classrooms, Supt. Shibler says of the vaccine

Superintendent Michael Shibler hopes the more people get vaccinated, the closer we are to the end of the pandemic...

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Virtual job-shadow opportunities available

Groundhog Shadow Day, which gives area students an inside look at different careers, is going virtual this year...

Partnership continues focus on student emotional, mental health

A group is working to identify trauma and provide support early in order to increase student success...

Online poetry, multimedia course encourages mental well-being for middle schoolers

A Grand Rapids nonprofit has made online writing and mental health materials available free of charge. At least one local middle-school teacher says the series is powerful and helps build community among classmates...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU