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Humphrey School of Public Affairs Capstone Synopsis.

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1 Humphrey School of Public Affairs Capstone Synopsis

2 Truancy intervention The statutory responsibility for intervention rests within the local county authority. Most Counties do not have access to current attendance information and are reliant on school personnel to inform on students absenteeism. District level cooperation is high, actual building to building interaction is inconsistent due to staffing and funding. Initial intervention process is social services in nature Interventions on county reported students are funded through local tax payers. No state funding for truancy intervention.

3 Trunancy Intervention 15 Day Drop students At 15 consecutive days of unexcused absences, per statute, schools will un-enroll the student. Currently there is no ability to track the outcomes of these students either at the school level or the State level State MDE data on this population is typically a year behind. Currently State looking at tracking options

4 Truancy power vs. interest l

5 Unenrollment due to 15-day policy FY2013FY2012FY2011Average Hennepin County.95% (1944 students).74% (1973 students).83% (1787 students).84% (1901 students) State of Minnesota 1.04% (8640 students).92% (7525 students).87% (7149 students).94% (7805 students) Per MDE figures through Capestone report

6 Unenrollment due to 15-day policy Unenrollment due to 15-days of consecutive absences is a statewide problem that merits a statewide solution. Within Hennepin County, some school districts (i.e. Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis) have the highest unenrollment rates, suggesting that a proactive and targeted solution may be important in these districts. The data from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) does not tell us if the student re-enrolled elsewhere. The inability of MDE to query the requested data and these caveats to the data confirm that students are not being consistently tracked by anyone.

7 Current policies and truancy interventions are being inconsistently applied throughout Minnesota Some schools are not reporting to counties, some schools are handling truancy matters within the building, and counties are often not involved until truancy problems are far advanced. Truancy interventions must be strengthened by mandating that counties and school districts collaborate to adopt formal intervention plans that clarify and create written policies. These plans would cover intervention programs for students currently enrolled as well as students who have been dropped due to the 15-day drop rule.

8 Unenrollment due to 15-day policy Formal plans would be approved by MDE An oversight structure at MDE would need to be created to facilitate the approval of the intervention plans developed in each county

9 Research Findings and Conclusions Unenrollment due to the 15-day drop policy is as much a statewide issue as it is a Hennepin County issue. State statues regarding truancy allow for local interpretation and management of truancy prevention measures. Truancy intervention programs are inconsistently administered across the state. Coordination between schools, districts, and counties vary widely, affecting the timeliness, comprehensiveness, and effectiveness of the intervention programs.

10 Research Findings and Conclusions Per Humphrey students interviews with school staff: School officials are calling for an increase in resources for truancy intervention program and clearer guidance on absentee reporting guidelines. Students who are unenrolled after 15 days are not easily tracked and there are no consistent measures in place to provide them social services and encourage their re- enrollment. The State of Minnesota Department of Education data system does not facilitate the sharing of student enrollment status between schools or schools and counties.

11 Research Findings and Conclusions Reporting practices are inconsistently applied, including proper coding for students who have been unenrolled or re-enrolled. The process of requesting records from students’ prior schools is not a reliable method to track students re- enrollment. The new MARSS 61 is in the pilot stage and allows for tracking the following year from MDE

12 Recommendations Mandate that schools designate an attendance officer Change current statutory language from “may hire” to “shall designate”. Mandate that school districts collaborate to adopt intervention plans that clarify and create written policies and are approved at the State level Maintain local control while increasing awareness of consistency of programs that serve students exhibiting truant behavior, and, where resources allow, the students who have been dropped.

13 Recommendations Create oversight structure within the Minnesota Department of Education for approval of intervention plans Improve data management and sharing via MARSS Encourage the State to create a better data tracking system with more current information so as to track students who drop out

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