The South Callaway School Board heard testimony from the district's principals (early education through high school) on ways to improve attendance overall in the district at its Wednesday meeting. The district did not meet MSIP5 attendance standards last year. The basic standard is that 90 percent of students are in attendance 90 percent of the time.
"It was out of all the different areas we're measured, that was the lowest area," Gary Bonsall, South Callaway Middle School principal, said. "So, all of us principals have definitely put a focus on that area."
Bonsall said he spoke with Superintendent Kevin Hillman on other areas that are affected by attendance such as free-and-reduced lunch programs and Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test scores. With a focus on improving the district's percentage of attendance, Bonsall and his staff calculated a list of 35 students that will not meet the MSET-5 standard if they continue missing school throughout the end of the year. Bonsall's findings showed of those 35 students:
•81.8 percent had a history of missing school,
•69.7 percent participated in the National School Lunch Program for free or reduced lunch,
•69.7 percent were at the basic or below basic level for MAP communication arts,
•66.7 percent were at the basic of below basic level for MAP math,
•60 percent of the eighth graders on the list were at basic or below level for MAP science. Eighth graders are the only middle school students who take the MAP science test.
Bonsall said the middle school is in the "initial stages of brainstorming" attendance solutions after a staff meeting on Tuesday.