QUINCY -- Quincy Public Schools students and their families will play a vital role in collecting data in an effort to stem truancy and chronic absenteeism.
What is known as hot spotting will begin this month thanks to a partnership between QPS and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
"It's an evidence-based approach to solving a problem where you go out into the community and ask the people most attuned or most affected to provide input into the solution," said Jeanne Hill, administrator at the SIU Center for Family Medicine in Quincy. "Once we see how it works and get the process nailed down, it could be used for a multitude of opportunities."
Quincy will be the second site in Illinois to use SIU's hot spotting approach.
Assistant professor Tracey Smith worked with hot spotting in Springfield and can draw on resources available from projects done in the Camden, N.J., area, to expand the process in Illinois.
Plans call for working with five to 30 students and their families in January, February and March to gather data tied to the root causes of issues affecting school attendance.
A working draft for the project said it "trained visitors seek to better understand the root causes … by establishing a relationship with the family and asking questions instead of demanding action."
The data will be analyzed in April, with results presented in May to the QPS school-based health care committee to set priorities.
"There is a limited amount of resources within a community, no matter what size of community, and this allows you to put resources you do have to best use," Hill said. "I can't think of a better way to use our resources than to help our future. They're the future of Quincy."