XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – Students are heading back to school, and their absenteeism is now being tracked by hours rather than days.
This is just one of the changes schools implemented the beginning of last school year with House Bill 410.
Last year, schools around the state were required to have an absence intervention team, but at Greene County Career Center, they took it a step further, and hired an intervention specialist focused on prevention.
An attendance secretary will now keep track of the number of hours missed from school to cut back on absenteeism, said Jenny Adkins, Greene County Career Center’s supervisor of student services.
House Bill 410 prohibited schools from expelling or suspending students based on truancy.
Schools are now required to have an “absence intervention team” meet with the students who miss 30 consecutive hours, 42 hours in a month, or 72 hours in a year.
But Adkins said their specialist tries to meet with students before they hit that threshold, and focuses more on prevention of absences rather than try and come up with a solution after the fact.
After meeting with the student, the specialist also conducted a home visit, trying to increase the communication with parents, rather than just jump straight to court.
“Courts have a nice teeth to them and sometimes our parents and students need that, but I feel like our actions have really increased in our communications with parents and students,” said Adkins.
Adkins said ast year, parents and students were very receptive to the specialist and the changes in the truancy policy, but she would like to see the absence intervention team grow even more this year.
“We’d really like to get more teachers involved because they have more contact with parents, so really getting that parental involvement will be key for us,” said Adkins.
Greene County schools begins back up on Wednesday, Aug. 15, and Adkins said they are excited to see the continued success of the truancy intervention specialist.