School report card released, chronic absenteeism high at South

Noah Maldonado, News Editor

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On Oct. 30, Illinois released its annual school report card detailing the progression of the state’s education system district by district.

Twenty-seven of District 202’s schools were tagged commendable with Eagle Point Elementary standing as exemplary. Drauden Point Middle School, previously underperforming, now joins the commendable range of schools.

The United States sees student absences at high numbers, and the district feels its own share of absenteeism.

According to the report card’s average for chronic absenteeism, currently 21-percent of District 202’s student body misses more than 10-percent of school days per year. However, in comparison to the district average, 41-percent of South’s student body exhibits chronic absenteeism.

However, Lisa Smith, Assistant Principal of attendance and discipline, believes the chronic absenteeism statistic is misleading.

“There were some issues with the calculating of the chronic absenteeism where the numbers are; it’s larger than it should be,” Smith said.

The district, though, fulfills its promise of a “Foundation for Excellence” through its teachers. The proficiency rating of teachers in the district is at 99-percent, showing excellent performance.

At South, administration and teachers joined forces in Cougar Culture, a new school committee, to promote a positive environment.

Nicholas Herrera, a founder of Cougar Culture, explained the committee was a response to last year’s school report card and its feedback.

“Cougar Culture was started actually last year, and it was based off of the report card plus the general consensus from teachers and students,” Herrera said.

Kacey “Profe” Helland, a Spanish teacher and member of the committee, believes Cougar Culture may turn the tide through its purpose.

“With Cougar Culture, it really is about making school a place where students feel appreciated. For some students through their high school career, they’ve felt divided students to teachers. This is an effort to get students to realize there isn’t that divide,” Profe said.