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Strategic Initiatives by MCSD Aim to Elevate Student Attendance

Strategic Initiatives by MCSD Aim to Elevate Student Attendance

Many of our parents and students are unaware of the impact frequent absences have on academic performance. Research shows a high correlation between regular attendance and high school graduation. We hope to educate families about the potential consequences of missing just two days of school per month and highlight the importance of consistent attendance. 

IDNUMBER Shauna Smith 8C82302B0A185
Written by Director of Instruction Shauna Smith

Currently, in the Marshalltown Community School District (MCSD), 9th-12th graders have an average daily attendance rate of 85% for the 23-24 school year. Compared to approximately 94% average attendance at the elementary levels. However, the district is making significant efforts to increase attendance supports and improve overall attendance rates. 

To effectively increase awareness of student attendance issues, MCSD has implemented various strategies and support systems. One strategy is the adjustment to the attendance policy. By clearly outlining the expectations and consequences related to attendance, the policy aims to emphasize the importance of regular school attendance to both students and their families through avoiding chronic absenteeism. 

MCSD also employs school resource specialists and bilingual attendance specialists who work closely with families to address attendance challenges. These specialists provide personalized support and guidance to families, ensuring they understand the significance of regular attendance and the potential negative impact of chronic absenteeism, when a student is absent 10% or more of the school year. 

Our building principals at MCSD meet weekly with attendance teams to provide additional support to families and monitor progress of students. These meetings serve as platforms where educators collaborate on strategies to improve attendance rates.  Our attendance teams continuously aim to create a school environment that prioritizes and supports student attendance.

It’s important for students and families to understand Chapter 299 (state law) specifically mandates compulsory attendance for youth aged 6-16. This means that attending school regularly is not just encouraged, but required by law. Marshalltown schools take this legal responsibility seriously as we make every effort to positively influence attendance habits. 

Attendance Coordinator Kayla McCall explains additional reasons attendance is important: “Studies show that by middle school, attendance is a greater predictor of whether a child will drop out of high school than even middle school test scores, with children who miss 10% or more of school being four times more likely to drop out of highschool than their peers who attended regularly,” said McCall. “Studies also show that students who attend school regularly are more likely to be proficient on standardized tests, are more likely to graduate high school and are even more likely to attend college. Success truly starts with showing up.” 

Please reach out to any of our schools if you have any questions or need support to ensure our youth attend school on a regular basis.