School updating attendance and good conduct policies

The North Iowa School Board is making changes to the district’s attendance and “good conduct” policies ahead of the start of the new school year.

The board reviewed changes to the attendance policy in July, and North Iowa Supt. Joe Erickson says the goal of the changes is to combat chronic absenteeism.

He says there are some students missing upwards of 20 days a school in a year, which amounts to more than 10% of their school year. The new attendance policy defines excessive absenteeism as any absence beyond 15 days of school or 15 individual class meetings.

“If someone is missing 10% of their school year consistently, by sophomore year, they’ve missed a whole year of school,” said Erickson.

Under the new plan, if a student misses five days of school in a year, a letter will be sent home to the parents. Erickson says there are a lot of students who miss five days of school, and that’s not really a concern, but they want to make sure the school and the parents are on the same page.

If a student misses 10 days of school, Erickson says the school guidance counselors will reach out to the family to see if there’s anything they can do to improve attendance. Erickson says sometimes it’s as simple as getting a student an alarm clock.

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