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News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective

LHS attendance

The following are internal and external programs designed to improve student attendance at Lowell High School.
I.                   Shannon Grant Funds

a.       Operation Attendance

The Shannon Grant funds $12,000 for Operation Attendance, the program of calls made nights and Saturdays by LHS clerks to the homes of students with attendance or tardy issues.  Operation Attendance occurred for 8 consecutive weeks in the first semester at a cost of  $6,339. A portion of the time during the fall was allocated to updating students’ addresses and phone numbers.  The remainder of the allocation ($5,661) will be used during the second semester.  The results from first semester were as follows:

School Weeks 1 – 8 (Sept-October)
Number of Calls Made 1,114
Results:  
Updated address/phone number 665
No contact *498
Gave house phone number 176
Will send child to school 34
Unaware child not attending 19
Contact made – uncooperative 4
Child withdrawn/transferred 52
Health issue 32
Other 309

*No contact: no one answered, there was no answering machine; or the phone was disconnected or it was a bad number.  If it is an issue of a disconnected or bad phone number, the house will get updated information from the student, or if the student is not in school, a police visit will take place.  If there was no answer that night, then the student remains on the call list for another night, or the information is referred to the parent liaison to make contact.

b.      Buy-Back

Another portion of the Shannon Grant provides funding for our attendance recovery program.  The $46,000 is spread out over the school year to pay for tutors for before and after school and Saturday mornings.  (Tutoring also occurs in detention).  This funding is supplemented by the LPS budget and Gear-Up. To date 85 students have successfully bought back credit and 203 students are currently enrolled in the program.  This funding has ensured that the library is open to all students during non-school hours.  The data from September – January is as follows:

Number of instances of direct tutoring in library                              970

Number of student visits to library after hours                            12,807

c.       ConnectEd

The Shannon Grant provided $12,000 this year for the district to use ConnectEd.  This allows for automated calls to be made to the homes of all absent students.  Two calls are generated, one at 11:00 a.m. and one at 5:00 p.m. ConnectEd also allows for calls to be made with messages related to upcoming school events, meetings, and safety drills.

II.                Local Funds
a.       Housemasters/House Interns/Guidance Counselors/Social Workers/Parent Liaisons

Attendance issues are managed at the House Office level. Housemasters and House Interns act as case managers usually dealing directly with students but also ensuring students are referred to the appropriate person (guidance counselor, social worker, parent liaison) who can provide assistance through additional student counseling.  They also ensure that parents are involved by calling home and/or setting up parent meetings.

b.      Attendance Officer

The attendance officer works directly with Housemasters to address attendance issues. The data provided by him for the September-January time period indicates the following:

Parent Meetings             97

Court Reviews               96

c.       Self-paced Program

The self-paced program, offering an alternative to the standard scheduling, has allowed students with significant attendance issues to earn high school credit. For first semester, 20 students successfully earned credit ranging from 2.5 to 10.

Police Visits
Local funds of $60,000 allow for home visits by the School Resource Officers.  With the policy change of having police make summer home visits to incoming 9th graders, this allocation was depleted by mid-February.  The results of the visits though January are as follows:

Results of Police Visits
Will contact house office 627
No contact made 197
Student moved 142
Attending another school 39
CHINS filed or should be filed 30
Quit school 19
Medical issue 10
Incarcerated 2
Verified address 2
Gang affiliation 2
Treatment center 1
Missing 1
Total Visits 1,072

III.       Outside Agencies
Lowell High School works with a number of programs that work to promote student attendance either directly or indirectly:  One Lowell, Gear-Up-Lowell, Gear-Up-MCC, Latino Connections, New Horizons, and Upward Bound.  In regards specifically to One Lowell, our records indicate that there are 47 signed parent releases, 27 of which are freshmen.

IV.       Impact
It is difficult to determine what impact each effort has on attendance on an individual basis but the whole range of efforts has had a measurable impact on an improved attendance rate as indicated by the data provided in the separate attendance report.  Housemasters, having direct control on who is called through Operation Attendance or who receive visits by the school resource officers, find these tools invaluable for improving contact with the home and positively impacting attendance. 

As part of the Shannon Grant reporting, the Housemasters provide numbers regarding what they believe is the primary reason why a student has returned to school.  Again, this is difficult to quantify since it is often the combination of programs, but for reporting purposes this is the data they have provided for September-January:

Police Visits
202
Social Worker/Guidance
44
Attendance Officer
40
Operation Attendance
27
Parent Liaison
27
Buyback
17
Other
15
ConnectEd
12

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