Students produce commercial to knock out absenteeism
OZARK, Ala. (WTVY) - An Associated Press study shows chronic absenteeism is worse in Alabama than any other state, and Ozark City Schools are working to turn that trend around.
That AP study shows 18% of elementary and high school students miss at least 18 days a year. Since the pandemic, Ozark’s superintendent has witnessed numbers that he doesn’t like.
Chronic absenteeism has climbed from six percent to 20% since the pandemic. Now students are using a camera to buck that trend.
It is against the law for students to miss classes without good excuses.
“The kids are not in school, and they cannot get educated,” Superintendent Reevice Girtman said. “Knowledge is power.”
With the help of some pupils, Girtman is spreading awareness about the harm of absenteeism.
“Our students at Carroll High School did a very cool thing,” Girtman said.
A very cool thing that could yield hot results.
“And they, in a matter of a couple of days, put together a video where they reached out to all the different people,” Girtman said.
People like city officials who shared their video message on the importance of attendance.
“I know a lot of students think schools, you know, boring and this and that, but you just kind of have to find the positive stuff about it,” Joseph White, a junior at Carroll High, said in regards to why he worked on the commercial. “Like this class, for example. I try to make it fun and just enjoy it as much as I can.”
The teacher of the Studio Operations class, Javarice Moody, said the students did most of the work on their own.
“I let them sort of run the show,” Moody said. “They did all the camera angles, the lighting choices, that was all them.”
Along with getting students involved to raise awareness, Ozark City Schools has also implemented a new system of keeping up with absences. If a student is out for more than three days, the parents are contacted.
Girtman said the personalized approach has already reaped positive results.
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