POINT PLEASANT — At Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Mason County Board of Education, board members received information regarding the district’s attendance policies.
Speaking to the board was Attendance Director Dawn Anderson, along with Charles Towner, coordinator of attendance. Anderson presented the board with an overview of what their jobs entail and their goals for attendance, as well as how the policies are enforced.
Anderson stated that she and Towner work to not only improve students’ attendance, but to help students and parents understand the importance of good attendance, saying that attendance information is sent home with students at the beginning of the school year. Anderson continued, saying the attendance rate of Mason County Schools has been increasing in the last several years, with a 97 percent attendance rate last school year.
Anderson also explained how she and Towner handle truancy cases, saying a student is permitted five unexcused absences and when dealing with a truancy case they utilize Teen Court, Magistrate Court, or Circuit Court, depending on the severity of the case. Anderson added that there were 150 truancy cases last year.
In addition to attendance, Anderson and Towner also keep track of homeschooled students, which Anderson said there were 84 of this year. The two also work to reduce the number of students who drop out of school. Anderson said there were 21 students who dropped out last year, which was the lowest number they’ve had for several years.
Board member Paul Sayre also brought up the topic of home visits when dealing with truancy cases, asking Anderson if she had ever felt threatened or unsafe during a visit and if she and Towner would need accompaniment from the schools’ PRO officers. Anderson stated she always takes the proper precautions needed when making a home visit, stating she never goes alone and that she always lets someone know she is going. She also stated that she has taken a PRO officer on home visits before, and would again if she felt it would be an unsafe situation.
Also speaking at the meeting was Julie Bibbee, who expressed some concerns regarding her volleyball coaching contract. Board members said they would look into and work with her regarding the concerns.
In addition to Superintendent Suzanne Dickens, board members present were Thomas Nunnery, Randy Searls, Greg Fowler, Paul Sayre, and Dale Shobe.
The Mason County Board of Education will meet again at 6 p.m. on December 11, at the Mason County Career Center.
(Note: More on the approved agenda and personnel items from this meeting will appear in a later edition.)