WCS chronic absenteeism: 12.9%

By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com

WILMINGTON — A focal point in the Wilmington schools’ three-year improvement plan is attendance: District-wide, there was in the past “chronic absenteeism” by nearly 13 percent of students.

Members of the Wilmington Local Schools Board of Education heard Monday night during a report from two central office staffers that chronic absenteeism is defined as a student missing 18 school days during the nine-month academic year.

Curriculum Coordinator Nicole “Nikki” Quallen and Special Ed/Pupil Services Director Natalie Harmeling gave a presentation on the district’s three-year plan. The three things emphasized in the plan are “climate,” student achievement, and attendance.

After the presentation, Wilmington City Schools (WCS) Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart said everyone needs to keep being “laser-focused” on those three goals.

If something does not connect to one of the over-arching goals, then it probably should not be pursued, the superintendent added.

September is Attendance Awareness Month, and several building principals spoke about attendance so far and, for the younger students anyway, incentives that are being offered such as celebrating with ice cream or treats.

High School Principal Stephanie N. Walker said she is “pretty happy” with a 95 percent attendance rate to date. Wilmington Middle School Principal Norbert “Bert” J. Martini said attendance so far in his building is 95.8 percent, which is up 0.5 percent.

Holmes Elementary Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel reported a 96 percent rate, the highest in the past three years there.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.


By Gary Huffenberger