Beyond the Classroom: Tackling Truancy at Audubon Elementary

DUBUQUE – Truancy is a difficult issue to address, especially in high poverty areas.

Audubon Elementary School has implemented new ways to increase regular attendance.

One way the school is combating truancy issues is by hiring Home-School Connection Specialist Mimi Holesinger.

“We’re really focusing on student achievement here,” explains Holesinger. “We see attendance as a big barrier to student achievement.”

Each week, Mimi sits down with Principal Ed Glaser to discuss the progress of lowering truancy issues for Audubon’s 300 students.

“Last year, we had nearly 30 percent of our student population that was chronically absent, so they were absent 10 percent or more,” recalls Glaser. “Kids who are chronically absent are not going to be successful in school.”

The average attendance rate across the state is 95 percent.

Last year, Audubon fell short with an average attendance rate of 92 percent.

Glaser is hoping to reach the state average this year with the help of Holesinger.

She focuses on developing positive relations between the school and home. She is also creating a better attitude towards school attendance with different contests challenging students to not miss school.

Holesinger explains, “They get a star on their door if they have perfect attendance.”

In addition to stars on doors, students are challenged to miss five or less days of school during the school year.

Though the attendance challenges have been widely accepted by teachers, students, and parents, Glaser is still waiting to see a change in the attendance rate:

“Right now our data doesn’t reflect a huge change from the past but we’re hoping that throughout our efforts throughout the course of the year that we’ll start seeing some of that.”

Find out more about Audubon Elementary School here.

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