The plan that's cutting East St. Louis truancy rates dramaticall - KMOV.com

The plan that's cutting East St. Louis truancy rates dramatically

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By Lakisha Jackson By Lakisha Jackson

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com)  -- When the East St. Louis School District reached one of the highest truancy rates in the state of Illinois, changes needed to be made, and made quickly.  In a year, the district cut its 66 percent truancy rate by more than half.

In the 2012 - 2013 school year, 66 percent of students in the East St. Louis School District were chronically truant. The latest state report card shows that number dropped to about 20 percent in the 2013 – 2014 school year.
 
The district's transformation officer said a number factors led to the truancy problem, including students not having a way to get to school, a high poverty rate and district-wide budget cuts.
 
"We reduced our truancy staff down from 23 individuals to 9 and that caused issues too because with more than 6,000 students, it's difficult to reach out to all of the families,” said Fred Clarke, with the district.  
 
"We are looking at adding 3 additional personnel … by next month if we can, we want to move quickly if we can,” Clarke added.
 
Those individuals will visit homes, acting as truancy workers and social workers.
 
In addition, the district put in a parent call-out system in place, which encourages parents to update contact information, especially if they get a new phone number.

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