Can Attendance Mediation Prevent School Dropouts? Can you help?

Are you interested in investing your skills and talents back into our community and helping children stay in school?  Truancy is an epidemic plaguing most school systems. According to John Hopkins University ,  there can be a national rate of 10-15 percent chronic absenteeism , meaning that 5 million to 7.5 million students are chronically absent.  Community Mediation Services (CMS) , a local nonprofit,  is joining forces with Anderson County Schools to conduct a pilot project  using attendance mediation as a measure to help families combat truancy and improve student attendance.

Did you know…

  • By the 6th grade a clear warning sign for a student being at risk of dropping out of school is missing school on a regular basis.  By the 9th grade, students missing school 20% of the year is a bigger warning sign of a child being at risk of dropping out of school then test grades.
  • The majority of students who eventually drop out of high school enter 9th grade with a pattern of chronic absenteeism that goes back at least several years, the study shows from Baltimore Education Research Consortium.
  • A study  by the University of Chicago found that attendance and studying more predictive of dropout than test scores or other student characteristics. In fact 9th grade attendance was a better predictor of dropout than 8th grade test scores

Although these  national statistic are staggering,  truancy is an issue that can be addressed at the community level.  Through a grant from East Tennessee Foundation , the  CMS attendance mediation project will facilitate a mediation between the parents,  the student and a school representative at the middle school level. The goal is  to determine what barriers to educational success exist at the present , and how, in the student’ best interest, can those barrier be eliminated or overcome. The school  and parents wants the student  to succeed.  CMS will act as a neutral party to help the school, the student and the parents work together on a plan for the student’s success. Mediation brings about an environment for collaboration which is a health way to facilitate change.

What can you do?  Are you interested in investing your skills in our community and helping children stay in school ? Become a community mediator.  Community Mediation Services will be holding mediator training sessions March 1-2 ( basic) and March 7-8 ( attendance) . There is no charge for training but you must attend all session and submit to a background check.  Attendance mediators will be asked to mediate one day a month during school hours.  Other CMS mediation programs training will be available in October but basic is required for all program. You can find more information on CMS mediator training here…