Beth Holt, Hawkins County Elementary instruction supervisor, hands out ice cream to St. Clair Elementary students Friday to celebrate improvements in attendance. Contributed photo.
ROGERSVILLE — Students at St. Clair Elementary School in western Hawkins County received a sweet treat Friday for showing the biggest gains in attendance from the previous year.
September was Attendance Awareness Month in many school districts across the country, including Hawkins County.
Although Hawkins County has consistently exceeded state goals for attendance, school leaders knew there was still room for improvement.
Hawkins County Schools decided to use Attendance Awareness Month as a way to draw attention to “chronic absenteeism,” which doesn’t always rise to the level of truancy but still has a negative effect on student achievement.
Only around 2 percent of Hawkins County students were truant last year, or missed more than 10 unexcused days of school. But more than 13 percent of students missed 10 percent or more of the school year if you factor in all types of absences.
That equates to 943 students missing more than 15,000 days of school.
As of Sept. 26, every school in Hawkins County has shown a gain in average daily attendance compared to totals from the same time period last year.
The school with the best gain in attendance in September compared to last year is St. Clair Elementary, which rose from 95.17 to 97.65 percent. Last Tuesday, the school had perfect attendance.Read more in Monday’s print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition.