One out of five students in Springfield Public Schools was considered a chronic truant last school year, newly released education data shows.
Data on chronic truancy was part of a presentation superintendent Jennifer Gill and her staff gave Monday updating the school board on recently released state education data.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, chronic truants are students who have nine or more unexcused absences throughout the school year.
In Springfield, the rate climbed from 17.7 percent in 2015-16 to 21 percent last school year. That’s higher than the state average of 11 percent.
In raw numbers provided Monday, 2,151 middle and high school students in Springfield were chronic truants in the 2016-17 school year. That’s up from 1,785 two school years ago.
Gill said chronic truancy is a problem the district is taking very seriously. She outlined several steps Monday the district is taking to address the problem.
But she also urged parents to make sure their child attends school.
“We really need to enlist the support of parents in getting their kids to school on time and throughout the entire day,” Gill said. “When students are chronic truants, it really puts them behind.”
Gill said Southeast High School added a truancy interventionist this year, giving the district two total (Lanphier High School already had one). The positions are paid for with federal Title I dollars.
A truancy interventionist calls and makes home visits when students don’t show up, but also works with the student to get back on track, she said.
“These are actual teachers on staff that help with truancy intervention and get kids in school and in the right programs,” Gill said.
In addition, Gill said, the district is pursuing a grant with the regional office of education to add interventionists at the middle schools. District 186 also has parent educators and outside mentors that work with students to help keep them in school and on track, she said.
Monday’s report also included information on attendance, graduation rate, test scores, percentage of freshman on track and number of students taking Advanced Placement courses.
All of the scores (with the exception of Advanced Placement) are available on illinoisreportcard.com.
There’s a new assessment model Springfield Public Schools are using to track your child’s progress. At Monday night’s District 186 School Board meeting, those results were revealed.
The new model is called the NWEA MAP Assessment. It’s new to District 186 this year and officials say they’re pleased with the results already.
MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress, and it’s a reading and math benchmarking tool that is administered three times a year (September, January, April). Every student in District 186 will take the test, and the progress is monitored between each time they take it.
Students in District 186 were fairly close to the national average. For example, in 9th grade reading, the average score in District 186 was just over 216. That’s compared to the national average at just over 220. In 9th grade math, the district’s average was 223, and the national average was just over 230.
Superintendent Jennifer Gill said, “For our first administration, the students have never seen this assessment before. We were happy with our results and we know that this is our baseline, this is where we are at the beginning of the year based on end of the year standards.” District officials said this new assessment will help identify the needs of students, personalize their goals and provide an equitable education for all of them.
The MAP test consists of one reading test and one math test, both of which are not timed.
Results provide administrators, teachers, students and parents with various reports:
Student Progress Report (shows student progress from all past testing to compare growth)
Achievement and Growth Report (shows student growth based on national norms in comparison to other students taking the test)
Here are the results for each grade in both math and reading:
Math Summary (District 186 average, national norm):
Kindergarten: 136.0, 140.0
1st grade: 159.1, 162.4
2nd grade: 179.8, 176.9
3rd grade: 187.2, 190.4
4th grade: 197.9, 201.9
5th grade: 206.8, 211.4
6th grade: 211.6, 217.6
7th grade: 215.5, 222.6
8th grade: 220.7, 226.3
9th grade: 223.0, 230.3
10th grade: 228.5, 230.1
11th grade: 232.6, 233.3
12th grade: 236.0, no norm
Reading Summary (District 186 average, national norm):
Kindergarten 139.9, 141.0
1st grade: 158.5, 160.7
2nd grade: 172.4, 174.7
3rd grade: 184.6, 188.3
4th grade: 193.5, 198.2
5th grade: 201.3, 205.7
6th grade: 207.7, 211.0
7th grade: 210.8, 214.4
8th grade: 214.2, 217.2
9th grade: 216.1, 220.2
10th grade: 217.6, 220.4
11th grade: 221.7, 222.6
12th grade: 223.1, no norm