music in the park san jose

It’s hard to overstate how important it is that children attend
school every day. A student who misses class misses the opportunity
to learn. And when students aren’t in class, the school district
loses the state funding it needs to operate our schools.
It’s hard to overstate how important it is that children attend school every day. A student who misses class misses the opportunity to learn. And when students aren’t in class, the school district loses the state funding it needs to operate our schools.

A lot of people share responsibility for making sure that students are in class – from the children themselves to their parents to teachers and administrators to, in a few extreme cases, social workers and those who enforce truancy laws.

State average daily attendance figures released last week show that there’s an attendance problem at San Benito High School. While the school’s overall enrollment numbers are up, the percentage of students in attendance daily was down during fall semester, from 93.57 percent the year before to 93.36 percent.

By comparison, the average daily attendance rate in the Hollister School District, which operates our community’s public elementary and middle schools, was 96.08 percent. Boosting the high school’s attendance rate to 96.08 percent would bring an additional $500,000 a year in state funding.

Improved attendance numbers would also likely help rein in growing disciplinary problems at the high school. Children who are cutting class often go looking for trouble. According to a report released this week by the school district, the number of drug- and alcohol-related incidents at San Benito High has spiked by 35 percent this year.

Clearly, this is a problem that demands attention. And, just as clearly, it is getting exactly that – on several important fronts.

This week, District Attorney Candice Hooper announced that her office is working in cooperation with the county Office of Education to resurrect a dormant school attendance review board. This board will include representatives the two local school districts, the police department and sheriff’s office, the county mental health and probation departments and the YMCA. It will be charged with identifying the causes of truancy and working with students and their families to solve the problem on a case-by-case basis.

San Benito High School trustees also decided this week to acquire a new computerized telephone messaging system that will immediately notify parents when their children aren’t in class. The system can call parents at home, at work and on their cell phone, which should mean that the message gets through.

We need to solve this problem, so that our students get the education they need and our schools get the funding they need. We’re taking some steps in the right direction, but parents must also do everything in their power to ensure that their children are in school every day.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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