South Callaway R-II School District saw increased in attendance last school year

The South Callaway R-II School District saw an increase in its attendance rate last school year. Superintendent Kevin Hillman said the district made attendance a focus last August and it will continue to focus on increasing attendance rate this school year.

“Kids need to be here before they can learn,” Hillman said. “We will work hard to have improvements where we can.”

The South Callaway School Board talked about the increase in attendance and attendance goals at its monthly meeting Wednesday night.

The district’s higher attendance rate increased its APR score 9.4 percent, from 80 to 89.4 percent.

“That is an amazing jump,” Hillman said at Wednesday’s meeting. “We have to have our kids here to have anything else work.”

Hillman described the APR score as the district’s report card. He said schools want to raise their APR score just like students want to raise their test scores. The district’s goal is to get an APR score of 90 percent or better.

Hillman said there isn’t any one initiative that led to the schools increased attendance last school year. The district, Hillman said, paid closer attention to attendance. Schools sent more letters home and made more calls to parents when students weren’t in class. Hillman said the school, parents and students all made an effort to increase attendance rates last school year.

Standardized Test incentives

The board and members of South Callaway High School (SCHS) staff also talked about potential incentives for students to focus more on standardized testing. The school used to give students a grade based on their standardized test score in an effort to encourage students to do their best on the test. SCHS stopped offering that incentive in 2011 and has not seen a drastic drop or rise in test results since.

Teachers and administration at the high school are hoping that offering an incentive again will lead to an increase in standardized test scores. Two members of the SCHS staff presented some potential incentive options to the school board at its Wednesday meeting. Potential incentives include assigning grades to the tests again or allowing students who do well to opt out of a course final exam.

School Board President Kit Glover said she worried that incentives for good standardized test scores may not be best for students. She said she isn’t confident that the content on standardized tests is covered in the school’s curriculum. Because of that she isn’t sure assigning a grade for the material on the standardized tests is fair for students.

SCHS staff will have more detailed information and proposals for test-score incentives for the School Board at its September meeting.

Facilities

The football field renovations will be mostly complete by the end of this week. The district expects the scoreboard to come in by Friday. The high school has a football jamboree on Saturday, which the school will use as an opportunity to take a look at what else needs to be done before fall sports need the field.

Hillman said the renovation process was a headache at times, but the end result will be great for students in the district. He said students seem excited to get to play on the new field.

“The field looks incredible,” Hillman said.

South Callaway will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the improved field on Aug. 22.

Before school started this week, the district finished a roof project, repaving parking lots and updates to its security and alarm system.

Megan Favignano can be reached at (573) 826 2417 or megan@fultonsun.com.

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