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September 6, 2018
Three ISD 318 Schools Recognized by Minnesota Department of Education

Attendance Awareness BadgeThis month, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) announced the state-wide list of schools being recognized for excellence – a list that featured three ISD 318 Schools. Bigfork Secondary, Cohasset Elementary, and Forest Lake Elementary have all been recognized for excellence when it comes to attendance. These schools are in the top 5% of schools state-wide.

The new North Star accountability system from MDE recognizes the importance of attendance on student achievement. Through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the North Star accountability system, MDE is providing two main types of support for schools – comprehensive support and targeted support. “Using data from the five key indicators that make up North Star— achievement and progress on state reading and math tests over time, progress toward English language proficiency, graduation rates and consistent attendance—the state is better able to identify and learn from schools that consistently perform at high levels across multiple domains," announced MDE in a press release.

Statistics show that students who miss 10%, or about 17 days, of the school year have difficulty staying on grade level and begin to fall behind their peers. Only 17% of students who are chronically absent as kinders and first graders can read on grade level after 3rd grade. 

Families often don’t realize how quickly absences add up. Just two to three days per month add up to missing 10% of the school year. Parents can help by scheduling appointments after school if possible, setting up regular weekday routines, and helping to reduce anxiety about school by talking to kids about their school, teachers, and classmates.

Students in Itasca County also receive support from Ross Resources through the Itasca County Truancy Prevention Program (ICTPP). In ISD 318 Truancy Prevention Specialists are located in each building to help provide support to kids with identified attendance issues. These staff members work with kids to identify barriers to attendance and encourage an understanding of the importance of attendance and education.

Studies show that students who are absent in the first month of school are likely to have poor attendance throughout the entire school year. That’s why ISD 318 and Ross Resources have also joined districts across the nation in celebrating September as Attendance Awareness month. We can all work together to help kids attend today so that they can achieve tomorrow. For more information about ICTPP, visit their website at For more information about Attendance Awareness Month, visit