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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

One Ohio school district’s juvenile court partnership lowered absenteeism

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024   

Around 30% of Ohio students are chronically absent from school, but in one district, a long-term partnership with the juvenile court system has lowered the number of kids missing class.

Heidi Kegley, Delaware City School District superintendent, said chronic absence dropped by nearly 9% during the 2021-2022 school year, largely driven by the juvenile court mediation process with families, that also involves school counselors and principals. She said a dedicated liaison meets regularly with families to hep eliminate barriers to their children's ability to show up to school.

"Ensuring that they know they're not in trouble, that we want to work together, and we want to partner. And the most important piece is their students and their child being successful in school, " she explained.

Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, and Rep. Dani Isaachsohn, D-Cincinnati, recently introduced legislation that would create a statewide pilot program aimed at addressing chronic absenteeism, that includes cash transfers for parents and guardians as incentives for high attendance rates for students in kindergarten and ninth grade.

According to a report by the group Attendance Works, during the 2021-22 academic year, nationwide around 66% of students attended a school with high or extreme levels of chronic absence - meaning they missed almost four weeks of school. Kegley added the mediation process allows families to open up about the problems causing poor attendance.

"Once we're at that mediation, families sometimes are more willing to share, and then we're able to see, is it something with transportation? Is it something with clothing, is it something with food, whatever that barrier is, working to overcome that, " she continued.

Students who attend school regularly are nearly seven times more likely to read at grade level by third grade and nine times more likely to graduate high school on time, according to data from the Ohio Department of Education.


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