Ohio schools taking attendance more often in effort to raise rate

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Kids missing school has been an issue in the Valley for several years now but this year, Ohio schools are taking more steps to make sure their students are in class.

As students prepare for the upcoming school year, so are administrators. This year, they’ll be keeping a closer eye on students during the day, trying to raise the attendance rate.

“Basically, when students aren’t in school, they’re missing instruction time,” said Greg Kibler, with the Youngstown City School District.

These new rules from House Bill 410 will help schools keep better track of where students are during the day.

The bill was passed in December of 2016 and takes effect this upcoming school year.

Students will now be marked absent based on the number of hours of class they miss instead of the number of days. The bill attempts to curb the class time a student misses by taking attendance every period instead of just at the beginning of every day.

Also under the new rules, students cannot be suspended or expelled for missing too much school.

Youngstown Schools CEO Krish Mohip is not satisfied with his district’s attendance numbers in the last two years, which are around 90 percent.

“Statistically, students that are not in attendance at school are at a higher risk of not graduating and not going on to college or careers and being successful,” Kibler said.

If students miss a certain number of hours, a newly-formed intervention team will step in.

“Their job is to sort out what is going on with that student and why they are having trouble coming to school,” Kibler said.

The team will consist of an intervention specialist, parents, a teacher, and a guidance counselor.

There will also be more access to things like counseling and parent education.

“The idea is to uncover what that student or family needs and find a way to address it so we can get them to school and make them as successful as we can,” Kibler said.

Within the Youngstown City Schools, the new rules will also bring better access to transportation. Last year, high schoolers couldn’t get a bus if they lived within four miles of the school. Now it’s only one mile. Preschoolers through 8th grade students now have a bussing limit of a half-mile — down from one mile.