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MMSD Attendance Trends: Hmong-Speaking High School Students August 29, 2005 MMSD Board of Education
Purposes of today’s discussion… • Share information about attendance trends of Hmong-speaking students in MMSD • Describe action plan for addressing these trends • Solicit input into a plan of action • Obtain feedback
Hmong-Speaking Students • There are currently 1122 students that self-identify as Southeast Asian in MMSD (K-12). • Of these students, 859, or 76% are Hmong-speaking. • 361 Hmong-speaking students are in grades 8-12
MIDDLE SCHOOL ATTENDANCE Middle school students as a group have met the 94% attendance rate goal for the past 5 years. The ethnic subgroups of Southeast Asian, Other Asian, and White, all exceeded the 94% goal in 2003-04.
HIGH SCHOOL ATTENDANCE Overall, the rate of attendance remains just below the 94% goal for high school students. The overall high school attendance rate declined slightly in 2003-04 from 93.6% to 93.3% due mainly to drops among the African American and Southeast Asian subgroups. Southeast Asian students dropped from 90.7% to 88.5%. White and Hispanic attendance rates remained almost unchanged from the prior year while rates for Other Asian students increased.
Where are our Hmong-Speaking Students? High Schools 9-12 • East: 111 Students • Lafollette: 66 Students • Memorial: 54 Students • West: 42 Students • Alt Programs: 18 Students
Where are our Hmong-Speaking Students? • Middle Schools: 8th grade only • Black Hawk: 6 Sennett: 14 • Cherokee: 8 Sherman: 15 • Hamilton: 3 Toki: 9 • Jefferson: 2 Whitehorse: 4 • O’Keeffe: 5 Wright: 4
Our Plan: May 2005 • Hold Community meeting #1: April 29, Kajsiab House. Distribute notes • Conduct focus groups with Hmong students • Conduct attendance transition conferences with 8th grade Hmong students with a history of poor attendance
Community Meeting #1Kajsiab House • Highlights • Representation from all 4 high schools and most middle schools • Representatives from community organizations • Small group discussions and networking • Relationship building and identification of next steps
Student Focus Groups • 20 - 25 Hmong speaking students • May 25, 2005 • Skippers and non-skippers
Why does attendance change? • Trying to fit in with peers • High school is open and allows more choices • Students don’t like the courses they are placed in • Classes don’t meet student’s needs • Home problems
Is poor attendance a problem? • Yes! Staying in school is important • It holds you back if you don’t go • It gives us a bad reputation • Sometimes teachers mark our names wrong—they stereotype us
What might help? • Adjust academic classes and provide choices of classes • Place Asian students in sections where there are other Asian students • Create a more welcoming environment for Asian students • Be more understanding of family issues • Address racism
What can students do? • Arrange for students who have skipped and dropped out to speak to other students about their regrets • Provide tutors and academic support • Involve parents • Try to motivate peers • Do something fun!
Attendance Transition Meetings • Early identification of students who may need additional support in high school • Spring interviews with 8th grade students experiencing attendance difficulties • Make connections to high school supports, (both student to student, and staff to student) in order to build relationships and problem-solving potential • Habitual Truancy Protocol
Our Plan: Semester 1, 2005-2006 • Host Community-School meeting #2 (include students) • Share plan with secondary administrators and student support • Conduct additional internal research • Explore strategies used in other communities
Our Plan: Semester 2, 2005-2006 • Host Community-School meeting #3 (include students) • Build cultural understanding and competency • Review and develop high school structures to support Asian students