Lamar Co. Superintendent talks school attendance

Lamar Co. Superintendent talks school attendance

LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - More than 7 million students missed 15 or more days of school in the 2015-16 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education, which is 16% of the student population.

Lamar County Superintendent Tess Smith said anytime missed is hard to replace.

"There are just so many things that a teacher can do in that initial lesson, hands on, discussion with other students, that they just can’t get when they return to campus,” said Smith.

Smith said with the schools in the district being on a block schedule, that means students actually miss more school than most.

“They’re in classes for a longer period than say what I was when I was in school,” Smith said. “In those situations, students are missing two days of instruction, because in a 90-minute class, you get a lot more information than the old 55-minute class.”

During the months of October and November, Smith said it’s critical for students to be in the classrooms because of ADA or average daily attendance. Smith said lowering that average can affect school funding.

“The state looks at us, especially during those two months of October and November,” said Smith. “That’s how we get our funding moving forward. It’s critically important that we have every student in their seat at that time. Our principals make extra efforts to incentive attendance. It’s kind of sad that we have to do that but, on those months, we do everything we can, pull out all the stops to encourage students to be in attendance.”

September is school attendance awareness month.

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