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KHS Tries New Strategies to Combat Chronic Absenteeism

KHS+is+incorporating+new+strategies+to+combat+high+absenteeism+this+school+year.
Ally Tavenner
KHS is incorporating new strategies to combat high absenteeism this school year.

Chronic absenteeism has become a leading issue at many schools and Karns is no different. Chronic absenteeism means that a student shows attendance rates of missing ten percent or more of a school year. The days missed by a student can quickly add up and can throw them off course to graduate. In recent years Karns High School has seen a large increase of students’ chronically absent scores, so with the help from an attendance grant, given by the Knox Education Foundation, Karns high school has put a plan into action that will ensure their students get the most of their time there.

 

With rates of this chronic absenteeism being so high, it is important that we find a way to aid students in their attendance. The Assistant Principal of Karns High School Rachel Evans and Social Worker Courtney Courtney are two of the many staff members working to fight these trends. 

 

 “Our chronically absenteeism rate was 34.2 percent in 21-22. So last year when the grant became available, we applied for it so that we could start looking at incentivizing students who were chronically absent and seeing if we could do research into why they were absent and how we could get them to school,” said Evans when asked what is done with the grant gifted to the school.

 

These high absence rates have been more concerning, as Evans states, since the 2021-2022 school year. Trying to get to the bottom of what is causing this downfall of kids coming to school is clearly a large priority. Thanks to the attendance grant provided by the Knox Education Foundation more effort can now be put into finding the cause and correcting it.

 

“It’s money put towards incentives..Incentives to try to help students come to school and address those targets,” says Courtney.

 

Weekly drawing of names to win small prizes such as gift cards or snacks is the current incentive offered, however adding additional incentives could help create the healthy habit of coming to school and getting the most out of their education.

 

“Realistically we want to make a difference. We’re offering supports…do we need to help you find a different job, do we need to help your family in some way, those kinds of things. How can we help lessen the load to make sure kids get to school,” said Evans.

 

Having supports throughout the school such as these with continued encouragement from all the staff, as well as the research and time being put into finding even more solutions. Karns High School is working towards their goal of reducing the number of chronic absences by 4%. With continued dedication to this trouble we can be sure that every Karns student gets the support they need to come to school and altogether the best out of their high school years!

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About the Contributor
Ally Tavenner, Reporter
Ally Tavenner is a sophomore at Karns High School and this is her first year in journalism. She enjoys listening to music and spending time with her boyfriend. She moved back to Knoxville after spending 6 years in California, watches a lot of movies, and hopes to improve her writing.

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