School DPP York reviews importance of good attendance, improvements and policies regarding school safety

Posted October 5, 2018 at 8:42 am

The 2017-18 school year, not only in Clinton County but many sections of the state and nation, was somewhat tumultuous. And in Clinton County, it was for various reasons.

A harsh winter, a hard flu season locally and school shootings that sometimes saw many parents apprehensive about sending students to school due to threats, had an adverse affect on both attendance and the call for stricter school safety and security.

School officials are hoping the 2018-19 school term, which is now about two months underway, will be much better, both in terms of school attendance and student safety.

Julie York, Director of Pupil Personnel for the Clinton County School District, distributed some important information on both school attendance and safety measures to be presented to the general public.

As the Director of Pupil Personnel, this is the message I am asking students, parents and staff to embrace this school year, “Every day counts!”

Each day of school attendance is a unique opportunity to learn new skills and excel at acquired ones. Every day that children attend school, they obtain academic and social skills needed to succeed in life. Research supports the fact that attendance is crucial to improving student achievement.

The purpose of the Clinton County School District Attendance Procedures is to encourage parents and students to work closely with the attendance staff to make sure every student is successful in school. Therefore, regular and punctual patterns of attendance will be expected of each student.

York notes, “Please understand that we know it is important for parents to keep their children home from school when they are sick. However, there are things families can do to improve attendance,” such as:

* Planning vacations during the summer months or school holidays.

* Requesting an Educational Enhancement Opportunity Request Form from your child’s school at least five days in advance of anticipated absence if you plan to take your child out of school for an educational purpose to ensure that the absence is excused if it is approved by the school principal.

* Ensuring that your children arrive at school on time every day.

* Scheduling routine medical and dental appointments before or after school.

* Bringing your child back to school after an appointment with an excuse from the appointment site, if you must make medical or dental appointments during the school day.

KRS 159.010 states that any parent, guardian or person having custody or control of a child between the ages of six and eighteen (18) shall send the child to a regular public school for the full term that the public school of the district in which the child resides is in session.

A parent, guardian or custodian of a child or children who do not regularly attend school will be reported to the Department of Social Services, Children’s Division, or to the County Attorney’s Office.

Student attendance is important on so many levels. It maximizes the time students have to learn the skills they need to succeed at grade level standards and it helps them build strong foundations in their future.

The Kentucky Truancy Law also reads (KRS 159.150), “Any child who has been absent from school without a valid excuse for three or more days, or tardy without a valid excuse for three or more days, is a truant. Any child who has been reported as a truant two or more times is a habitual truant.”

Consequences for unexcused:

* Three unexcused absences/tardies–letter sent from the school;

* Four unexcused absences/tardies–referral made to DPP and/or contact by FRYSC;

* Five unexcused absences/tardies–possible meeting with child protective services, court designated worker, school administration, and/or Director of Pupil Personnel;

* Six unexcused absences/tardies–final notice sent to parents/guardian;

* Seven unexcused absences/tardies–affidavit to court.

York also noted that by working together, we can build a habit of good attendance, saying:

“Parents want their children to do well in school but many don’t fully understand the connection between chronic absence and a student’s academic achievement. Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Especially as children grow older and more independent, families must play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and on the job.”

Did You Know?

* Students should miss no more than nine days of school each year to stay engaged, successful and on track to graduate.

* Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.

* By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.

* By 9th grade, regular high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.

* Missing 10 percent, or about 17 days, of the school year can drastically affect a student’s academic success.

* Students can be chronically absent even if they miss a day or two every few weeks.

* Attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate and keep a job.

“You can help your child succeed by making school attendance a priority. Talk to your child about the importance of showing up to school every day and make that the expectation. Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework, unplugging from technology at a decent hour, and getting a good night’s sleep. Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day, causing them to miss precious instruction time. Don’t let your child stay home unless truly sick. If your child has anxiety about school, come in and talk to the school about it,” she said.

Communicate with the school:

* Know the school’s attendance policy. This year, the district altered the attendance policy to allow six parent notes and 10 doctor notes because research shows that the academic performance of students missing more than 16 days of the school year, excused or unexcused, is negatively affected.

* Talk to teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school. Our district offers mental health counseling and health care services during the school day.

* Check on your child’s attendance to be sure absences are not piling up. Make sure you have access to your child’s account on the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. Call your child’s school for more information.

* Ask help from school officials, after school programs, other parents or community agencies if you’re having trouble getting your child to school. (Data gathered from

York also noted that although average daily attendance (ADA) the first month of this year was down, the second month of school showed an increase in attendance by about a quarter of a percent.

The second month, which ran from August 29 through September 25, showed the overall attendance rate at 94.77 compared to 95.52 the same month a year ago, a trend York hopes continues and even improves upon throughout the school year.


The Director of Pupil Personnel also issued the following about school safety for the 2018-19 year, noting Clinton County schools are proactive on safety:

The Clinton County School District has been working diligently since the summer break making plans to improve school safety and increase parent involvement in the district.

The last quarter of the (2017-18) school year saw the development of a community-wide Safety Advisory Committee. School personnel, parents, and community members came together to discuss and brainstorm safety concerns and develop strategies for improving safety in our district. The development of this committee led to many improvements in our schools as well as the development of a new PTA in our district. This committee meets each quarter to monitor safety concerns and develop a strategic plan for improvement. The most recent meeting of the committee was held this past Tuesday,October 2.

Our schools’ employees continue to complete a variety of school based drills to better prepare for any emergency situation which might occur. Door barricades have been installed on many classroom doors in the district to make any unwanted entry into classrooms almost impossible in the case of an intruder inside a school. Pick-up and drop-off procedures have been evaluated and heightened at each school with more monitoring of parking lots by staff including the addition of the safety check shack at the high school entrance to better monitor the incoming and outgoing traffic in the school parking lot.

Each school has also scheduled student assemblies and educational trainings to talk to the students about important issues such as cyberbullying, social media, drug use, and mental health. The school based Health Kids Clinic also welcomed an onsite Mental Health Counselor to our district this year that is based in our school district to be readily available to students to offer mental health support at any time.

The Clinton County School District understands the importance of safety in our schools. We know that for students to learn to their full potential, they have to feel safe in their classrooms each day. Every school has a detailed Safety Plan that has been approved by their Site Based Council and places the safety of each and every child at the very top of the priority list for their school.