District aims to boost numbers

By Dick Mason, The Observer July 03, 2013 10:36 am

School district wants increase in attendance figures

The numbers are in, numbers that will cause La Grande School District administrators to take a closer look this summer at Greenwood Elementary School.

The figures indicate that attendance was up at Greenwood in 2012-13 for the third year in a row. Greenwood’s attendance rate was 95.39 percent during the past school year, up from 95.26 percent in 2011-12 and 93.69 percent in 2010-11.

The trend is particularly noteworthy considering that the attendance rate at all of the other five schools in the La Grande District dropped slightly in 2012-13. The school district’s overall attendance rate was 94.16 percent in 2012-13, down from 94.88 percent in 2011-12.

School District Superintendent Larry Glaze hopes that all schools in his district are able to follow Greenwood’s lead and boost their attendance in the upcoming school year. He has set an overall attendance goal of 96 percent for 2013-14.

“We want to get as close to 100 percent as we can. Kids need to be in school to learn. If they are not in school they are not learning,” Glaze said.

The superintendent and other administrators will be taking a closer look at steps Greenwood has taken to encourage attendance as part of their push to reach the 96-percent goal.

“It behooves us to take a closer look at what Greenwood is doing and its reasons for success,” Glaze said.

Although the school district is pushing for higher attendance, the district is well above the state attendance standard of 92 percent. 

Steps the school district will be taking to reduce absences, including hiring a part-time attendance officer who will work three hours a day. The officer will focus on improving attendance among students who are chronically absent.

The attendance officer will be paid with funds from the InterMountain Education Service District. The money became available because of the merger between the Union-Baker and Umatilla-Morrow ESDs two years ago, which formed the InterMountain ESD.