The 4th quarter, last inning, and home stretch are here, and Memphis-Shelby County Schools wants students to show up everyday and FINISH STRONG.
Attendance is one of the best predictors of student success. Unfortunately, across the nation, state, and district, too many students are struggling to succeed because of chronic absenteeism. MSCS is addressing this issue with an improved messaging system, additional resources, and increased community support.
The District is committed to helping families overcome barriers to student attendance. MSCS has strengthened its parent notification methods to connect families with resources. Now, when parents receive a message about their child missing school, they also receive a link to a state resource database that connects them to community services such as food pantries and healthcare clinics.
MSCS' goal is for students to succeed in the classroom and beyond. But students can't succeed if they don't show up! The District has hired six attendance specialists to do extra outreach at schools with the lowest attendance rates. There are plans to hire more over the summer. These specialists will provide extra support to students and families in our schools.
Additionally, MSCS has launched the FINISH STRONG BUS TOUR to get information to families who we may not be reaching on campus or via district communications. District representatives were onsite at various locations in Whitehaven, Midtown, Frayser and Berclair to answer questions about the Literacy Commitment, TCAP testing, and 2023-24 school and Pre-K registration.
School Board members continue to show their support for tackling absenteeism. District 2 School Board Chair Althea Greene and District 9 board member Joyce Dorse Coleman engaged community members at some of the bus tour stops. And, District 3 school board member Stephanie Love is leading the newly re-established attendance task force, which consists of city and county agencies and community partners. They will work together to address the leading causes of absenteeism: family illness, homelessness, bullying, and incarceration of parents.
As the District prepares for the testing season, every day is a crucial learning opportunity. Attendance is vital to the academic success of any student. Superintendent Toni Williams said it best during her recent State of the District address, “If our students aren't in class, they can't pass.”
As MSCS enters the final stretch of this school year, its time to dig in and FINISH STRONG! Testing season begins on April 17 and runs through the beginning of May. There is still plenty to learn and opportunities to have fun. Students need to be present everyday for all the test-taking tips and cool surprises the District has planned. If you miss school, you miss out! So, show up and FINISH STRONG!