Currently about 20 percent of students in the Sioux Falls School District miss more than 10 days of school per year. To improve attendance, the district is trying out a new program called Kinvolved.
"Tonight is kind of a strategic plan, an update. Attendance is one of the big markers of things we want to get on top of as a school district," Sioux Falls School District Superintendent Brian Maher said.
system allows school staff and families to communicate in real time about what's going on with students' attendance. For some parents, just how much class their kid is missing is surprising.
"It's just not the top of their mind. They always think that maybe they're doing a little better than they are. So this really puts it in a factual, graphical standpoint," Doug Morrison, Director of Research, Innovation and Accountability for Sioux Falls School District, said.
Kinvolved will keep track of when students are showing up for class. That information is then sent to the parents. This way everyone is on the same page, and any issues can be addressed.
The application also comes with several languages, which helps in a district with over 90 languages being spoken.
"So it's very important that we can communicate with them, in either a text or email or a phone call," Morrison said.
With technology like this, the possibility of expanding the app could be on the horizon if this pilot program is a success.
"Right now, we're not looking at it as a widespread communications tool but that's not off the table for the future," Morrison said.
The program is currently being tested at Hayward, Hawthorne and Laura B. Anderson Elementary Schools, as well as Whittier Middle School and Washington High School.
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Attendance is also getting special attention in Sioux Falls schools. Last month, the District announced a new technology to help teachers and parents stay connected and keep kids in class.