2017-09-14 / Community


Last week, the Detroit Free Press run an article titled, “Report finds chronic absenteeism a problem in Michigan schools”. The article was significant in that the data cited puts Michigan well above the national average for the percent of schools with extreme levels of chronic absenteeism. Unfortunately, Manistique Area Schools are not immune from absenteeism concerns.

Attendance policies at both Emerald Elementary and the middle/ high school have been updated to reflect legislation that is being considered in the Senate to guide Michigan School districts in defining truancy and chronic absenteeism.

Part of the problem with absenteeism is that all students are affected. When a student is absent it forces teachers to have to repeat instruction for the student who missed class, and because lessons tend to build from one day to the next the problem continues to grow, resulting in the loss of valuable teaching time for the majority of the students in the classroom.

The attendance guidelines that are being considered by the state, and adopted by MAS, would classify any absences in excess of 10 percent of the school calendar to be considered chronic. For example, MAS implements a 180 day school calendar. Ten percent of 180 is 18, which means that students with more than 18 absences in a single school year would be considered chronically absent.

As student growth and achievement requirements continue to increase, it is more important now than ever before that all students be in school on a regular basis. This means that appointments should be made after school hours and family vacations limited to times when school is not in session.

For more information on the MAS attendance policy, view the Student Handbooks online at www.manistiqueschools.org or contact the school offices.

If you listened to the radio news on Tuesday you may have heard Sheriff Furman discussing his concerns about traffic and school busses. I recently shared the same concern with Michigan State Police troopers Janisse and Griebel. With so many of our busses traveling and picking up students on U.S. Highway 2, it is imperative that drivers watch for the flashing red lights on the school busses.

In the first week of school alone, I was notified of three instances on U.S. 2 in which motorists ignored flashing red lights on the school bus and passed while the busses were stopped. This is not only illegal, but extremely dangerous for our students and drivers.

Please keep our kids safe and stop when you see a bus with flashing red lights.

Finally, I would like to give a big shout out to all of the parents and students for their cooperation with the new transportation procedures at both the middle/high school and Emerald Elementary. We have made several small adjustments to improve the process in the first few days, but believe we now have a system that maximizes safety for the students and convenience for the parents.

Mr. Ryan and I greatly appreciate the positive comments from those who have embraced the changes and have been supportive throughout the process. It has been very impressive and encouraging to see how things have fallen into place so smoothly in just a few short days.

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