NCSD Attendance Rates for the 2021-2022 School Year Were at a 5-Year Low
At the Natrona County School Board meeting on Monday, Dr. Charlotte Gilbar, Executive Director of School Improvement, talked to the board about how the district did for attendance over the past school year.
According to the district data, attendance rates decreased by 2.54% from 2020-2021 to the 2021-2022 school year, and decreases in attendance were at each grade level across the district ranging from a 1.63% decrease to a 3.88% decrease.
Attendance across the NCSD from 2021 to 2022 was the lowest it's been in the past five years at 89.9%, compared to the previous low of 92.44% in the 2020 to 2021 school year, with the highest being from 2019 to 2020 at 93.94%.
Gilbar clarified, after being asked by Trustee Chair Raymond Catellier, that school activities are not included in absences and that illness is included as an absence.
Gilbar said that there was also an increase in conferences that were held where attendance was discussed, going from 846 in the previous school year to 1771 this past school year.
Most conferences were held for those in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade at 231, 239, and 269 respectively, while preschoolers had the least at 20.
Trustee Dave Applegate said he's disappointed in the attendance and wished there was a greater emphasis placed on attending school.
"The fact that we're down to 89% attendance is really not good. We have 175 days of required school attendance," Applegate said. "If our average for the district is 89.9%, that means on average kids are missing 17.5 days of school. As a community, we need to really emphasize the need to attend school. The only way we're going to meet the high-performance standards that we have from the state and really accomplish what we want to accomplish is if we have our kids attending school as often as possible. I just think this number is disappointing, it's certainly a number that's been affected by COVID, so the pandemic affected it somewhat."
During the same meeting, the board also discussed the upcoming peer review team that will be visiting on Oct. 27 and 28, which will be coming to assess the district's accreditation, which is needed for the diplomas to hold weight.
Gilbar said that during her time with the district, they have always passed the accreditation process, which happens every five years.