Mustang Public Schools To Launch #MissSchoolMissOut Attendance Campaign This Spring
(Mustang, Oklahoma – January 6, 2020) – Students who miss just two instructional days each month are at a greater risk of not reading on grade level by third grade, failing classes by middle school, and dropping out of school altogether by ninth grade according to research from Attendance Works, an action research project focused on school attendance from local environments to national policy-making. As such, Mustang Public Schools (MPS) is launching a campaign focused on increasing attendance that is centered around the hashtag #MissSchoolMissOut.
In response to the research from Attendance Works (and others), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmiester, and the State Department of Education (OSDE) changed its annual report card structure within the last few years, rebuilding the system to create more nuance in how districts are evaluated each year. This includes a component/letter grade focused on Chronic Absenteeism. Mustang Public Schools also changed its absence policy for 2019-2020 to align with this shift by decreasing the number of “allowed” absences from 12 to 10 per semester.
“We know that if a student is not in class, they are not learning,” said Assistant Superintendent of Secondary School, Ryan McKinney. His Elementary Education counterpart, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools, Stacy Edwards, added that “we recognize that attendance habits are formed early and extend through school to work life.” In order to increase attendance and combat “Chronic Absenteeism,” Mustang is launching a social media campaign for the Spring semester with the hashtag, #MissSchoolMissOut. “We have so many amazing things happening in our classrooms,” said Director of Communications, Kirk Wilson. “We use the hashtag #MPSClassrooms on Social Media when highlighting some of those things, and we will piggy-back our attendance campaign on those instructional moments, and the new hashtag. We do not want students to miss out on the learning opportunities that our staff work so hard to create.”
But hold the phone, the District is quick to point out that this #MissSchoolMissOut campaign is not an invitation for students who are contagiously ill to come to school. “We do not want sick kiddos in class,” says Head District Nurse, Tammy Kain. She points to the District Policy detailing when to keep a student home - there is even an InfoGraphic summarizing the key points.
Absenteeism isn’t a new problem, or one that only affects Mustang. Chronic absenteeism occurs when a student misses at least 10% of days in a school year, which is 17 days in Oklahoma. A report from the U.S Department of Education estimated that in 2015-2016, about 1 in 6 students in the U.S. missed at least 15 days of school. For more information on Chronic Absenteeism, please visit the OSDE website at https://sde.ok.gov/chronic-absenteeism.
About Mustang Public Schools
The Mustang Public School District covers over 72 square miles in Oklahoma and Canadian counties with the City of Mustang at its center. The district is the largest employer in Canadian County, with more than 1,000 certified and support employees. Voted one of Oklahoma’s Top Workplaces for the past two years, the school district offers a comprehensive compensation package for full-time employees, in addition to a satisfying working environment. There are eight elementary schools (grades PreK-4), three intermediate centers (grades 5-6), three middle schools (grades 7-8), one high school (grades 9-12), and an educational center which houses pre-kindergarten and alternative education.
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