Mississippi ranks in the top 20 of states with high percentages of chronically absent students. That’s according to recent data from the U.S. Department of Education. Neshoba County hopes to fight that trend this year by launching a school attendance campaign.
Around 3,300 students are enrolled in the Neshoba County School district. This year, Superintendent Dr. Lundy Brantley said he hopes all of those students make attendance a priority.
“We have one of the worst chronic absentee rates in Mississippi. That’s from 2017 and 2018 data. We need to fix that. That is 18 or more absences in a school year. That’s considered chronically absent, by federal standards so we have to fix that,” said Dr. Brantley.
To combat the low numbers, Dr. Brantley said the district has launched a social media campaign, encouraging school attendance.
“What we do is on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, we send out statistics. If you miss a certain amount of days, it adds up to this certain amount of time of missed education over 13 years. Some of them talk about missing two days a month, is 10% of the year,” said Dr. Brantley.
Dr. Brantley said attendance matters far beyond the classroom.
“When I talk to business and industry leaders, not just in the Philadelphia and Neshoba County, but across the state, I ask what you need from us, K-12th grade and the number one thing they say is we need them to be here. The next thing is we need them to be on time, so we want to create great habits for our students,” said Dr. Brantley.