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Community Focus on Attendance

As the Kern High School District (KHSD) Superintendent, I sincerely thank our community for working together to address chronic absenteeism, a challenging issue that we are steadily overcoming thanks to our teachers, students, support staff, coaches, parents, families, local law enforcement, community leaders and agencies, including Kern County Mental Health Services and Kern County Human Services. As a result of our collective commitment, I am proud to share that Kern County’s regular attendance rate has risen and the KHSD’s chronically absent rate (students missing 18 or more days of school per year) has significantly decreased. In 2016-2017, there were 4,000 fewer absences than the year before, and since 2014, student absences have reduced by 40,000.

In 2016, the California Department of Education recognized KHSD’s notable attendance progress by selecting it as one of nine districts statewide “for implementing a model S.A.R.B. (Student Attendance Review Board) program to minimize student dropouts and promote student success.” I am proud to share this acknowledgement with our dedicated partners, who share in this community-wide effort to help all of our students succeed in school and in life. 

While taking a moment to celebrate our achievement helps to propel our work, the KHSD understands that remaining vigilant and proactive in truancy reduction is imperative. Trained truancy teams are in place at each site to provide effective interventions. Teachers and staff are trained in providing appropriate social-emotional support, and to help parents and families, the KHSD has increased the number of Parent and Family Centers, which provide parents/guardians with information, knowledge, and resources to become strong education advocates for their child. Research shows that students are more likely to achieve academic success when they attend school regularly. Also, students who attend school every day are inclined to develop positive relationships with caring educators, who favorably impact their overall educational performance.

The KHSD is honored to work with its valued partners to educate the community about the importance of daily school attendance. This year, the KHSD collaborated with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools to host the sixth annual Central California Truancy Summit, the first large-scale school truancy conference held in Kern County. This successful event was held in Bakersfield last May and addressed root causes of truancy and absenteeism through featured experts, panelists, and trainings. Combined efforts such as these increase truancy awareness and hopefully inspire all of us to do our part to help students stay in school.

School attendance will remain a KHSD priority and must continue as a community focus, as well. Our students’ success depends on it.

Thank you, Kern County!