South Dakota’s public school report card shows fewer students attend class

South Dakota public school attendance is down compared to pre-pandemic numbers
South Dakota public school attendance is down compared to pre-pandemic numbers(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 7:15 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Last Thursday, the South Dakota Department of Education published the state’s 2021-22 public school report card.

The report provides data that helps parents, educators, and community leaders understand how their public schools perform.

This year, an area of concern was the attendance rate. According to the DOE, pre-pandemic attendance was at 92% and last year it was at 86% statewide.

Rapid City hasn’t fared any better, with RCAS saying pre-pandemic attendance was above 90%, and during the 2021-22 school year they were at 85% which has been causing concern.

The RCAS 2021-22 report card statistics
The RCAS 2021-22 report card statistics(South Dakota Department of Education)

”Studies have shown that students who miss even two days a month have a lower rate of graduation and every day no matter what a kid says, every day we are doing something important in school and that learning is happening,” said RCAS Superintendent Nicole Swigart, “So, any day that is missed learning is missed,”

Swigart added that while these numbers are from last school year, currently this year’s numbers are on par.

The state and districts are working to combat absenteeism with a public awareness campaign advising students and their families on the long-term benefits of regular school attendance.

Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson encouraged the effort she said “It’s pretty simple: kids can’t learn if they are not at school,”