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D60 school district finding ways to improve absentee, truancy rates

Posted at 3:19 PM, Dec 12, 2018

PUEBLO – Thousands of kids are missing school every year in the D60 school district.
Data from the Colorado Department of Education shows more than 6,127 kids are considered to be chronically absent, or missing at least 10 percent of the entire school year.

So now, the school board is taking steps to see what they can do better.

The plan is to take a close look at the intervention measures already in place and see if they are actually helping put a dent in those numbers.

Despite preventative measures like community advocate, school board member Dennis Maes says more needs to be done.

“Identify what the needs are and the circumstances are surrounding the child so that we can help with that,” he said.

Maes believes children are falling through the cracks because not enough people are conducting follow-ups and getting to the root of the problems.
He says factors like mental health issues with parents… transportation issues… and housing issues can have a huge impact on truancy — or unexcused absences.

So he’s requesting an analysis on whether more needs to be done to reduce truancy and absentee rates.

“We have some data already and i just wanna see how that data turns out during the course of the next month or two,” he said.

The district is on board with finding ways to improve.

Dalton Sprouse, the spokesperson for the D60 School District said they want to find out what schools “can […] do better as a school district to ensure that those students have every opportunity to come into our schools and get a great education.”

And the board is demanding more accountability.

Maes asked, “Are we in fact following up with the students? Are we doing the things that we’re required to do?”

It could be as early as February or March that the school board gets this new data and that’s when they’ll be discussing any possible changes to the school district’s approach.

For the full data spreadsheet on the Colorado Department of Education’s website, click here.