Martin Middle School is a Leader in Rhode Island!
During the 2017-2018 school year Martin Middle School’s chronic attendance was at a low point in the state of Rhode Island. According to the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), MMS had a chronic absenteeism rate of 21.30%. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing ten percent or more of the academic year. Based on a 180 day school year, that means a student would miss about 18 days per year.
Research shows that students who are chronically absent struggle with reading at grade level and are four times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school. Also, the data shows that frequent absences in school can lead to challenging outcomes later in life.
The East Providence School Department has made a huge emphasis on decreasing chronic absenteeism during the 2018-2019 school and based on the data below Martin Middle School has demonstrated some of the best growth in the state. Martin finished 2nd in the entire state of Rhode Island with a 35% improvement!!!
How did Martin make this improvement?
At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, the entire MMS teaching staff met during their Common Planning Time to look at the data and discuss ways to make things better. The teachers worked in their grade level teams and began to reach out to families through phone calls and emails. The message was supportive and positive. Teachers and families had conversations about the importance of school and discussed solutions about how to help make sure the students would be at MMS each day. The personal connection made between the teachers and families began to make a big difference and more and more students were improving their attendance.
During the year, the emphasis switched to a teacher and student mentorship. Teachers at MMS each mentored 1 or 2 students who were struggling with coming to school. These personal interactions showed the students that someone was looking out for them and cared about them coming to school each day. Teachers worked hard to let each student know that they mattered and they wanted them at MMS. Students responded by increasing their attendance and MMS showed the community and the entire state that they are leading the way in terms of getting students to school and reducing chronic absenteeism.
As we get ready for the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year at Martin Middle School, all of the teachers, guidance counselors, and support staff will pick up where they left off and continue to mentor students, communicate with families and create a warm and supportive environment to encourage OUR KIDS to be at school each day. This amazing growth that happened last year is only possible because of the tremendous hard work by the teachers, families, and students at Martin Middle School last year.