2017-10-18 / School News


Erich May, Morgan County Schools

Being there is important

Here’s something to celebrate: for the second year in a row, Morgan County Schools had the best attendance rate in the state.

According to the West Virginia Department of Education, our attendance last year averaged 95.42%. The state average was 93.13.

An attendance rate of over 95% is a serious accomplishment and something all of our employees can be proud of, especially attendance director Russell Penner and truancy diversion specialist Corporal Kevin Barney.

Corporal Barney is the Morgan County Prevention Resource Officer, a position made possible by our partnership with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.

Penner and Barney have visited dozens of homes over the last two years and worked with county prosecutors to assist families in meeting the state’s compulsory attendance laws. Meanwhile, principals, teachers, coaches and others have underscored the importance of attendance in their work with students.

After all, attendance is crucial to success. Research has shown that students with good attendance get better grades while students who are frequently absent are more likely to fail. One study even showed a connection between dropping out of high school and missing school in first grade.

Children must be in school to learn and develop the skills that will prepare them for the future. And being in attendance is itself an important skill. Like saying “please” and “thank you,” showing up and showing up on time are winning ways at work, in college, in the military, and in the life of any parent or caregiver.

Just as absenteeism is a problem for students, so is tardiness. Students who are late to school miss important instruction and potentially important announcements. Furthermore, their arrival in the middle of class is a distraction to their peers. Absences are a legal issue; tardies are a discipline issue.

For these reasons and more, we need parents and grandparents to join us in prioritizing attendance and punctuality. We need families to communicate to students the importance of being in school and getting there on time.

It is also important for parents and guardians to keep schools informed with the most up to date contact information. When children are absent or tardy, automated phone messages are sent out informing parents of the attendance occurrence.

I acknowledge everyone who has helped Morgan County take top honors. Let’s keep it up, so we see every child every day.

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