Truancy rate in Quincy schools improving

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 27, 2018 9:05 am Updated: Feb. 27, 2018 10:16 am

QUINCY -- Quincy Public Schools is making strides in reducing chronic truancy.

The districtwide truancy rate dipped from 4.46 percent in the second quarter of 2016-17 to 3.81 percent in the same quarter of 2017-18, Superintendent Roy Webb told the Discipline Committee on Monday.

Webb pointed to four schools -- Quincy High School, Quincy Junior High School, Washington School and Berrian School -- that are doing very well to lower chronic truancy.

Berrian saw its second-quarter percentage drop from 3.61 to 0.58 percent, while Washington's dipped from 3.4 to 0.94 percent, thanks to early identification of students and building relationships with those students and their families.

But Webb said more needs to be done.

"We not only have a truancy issue. We have an attendance issue. I'd like to see a reduction in excused days and unexcused," he said. "If we get our attendance to where it should be, 95 or 96 percent, it would be a lot better not only on instruction, but it also impacts our finances, as well."

More students with improved attendance records also poses challenges in the schools.

"It's a real issue how we're serving students, making them welcome back at school, get their confidence built," QJHS Assistant Principal Rick Owsley said.

Students all have different reasons for being truant, but many feel inadequate at school or disconnected -- and addressing those issues is key to keeping them in school.

"When you talk about additional resources, they're needed clearly in this area," Owsley said. "We need as much support in the building as we can."