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Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) speaks to CPS Superintendent Dr. Brian Yearwood (middle) at the Columbia Farmers Market on August 25, 2022, as Boone County commissioner Justin Aldred listens (file photo courtesy of the governor's Flickr page)

(AUDIO): Yearwood: CPS renewing its focus on attendance, following DESE report

Missouri Governor Mike Parson (left) and CPS Superintendent Dr. Brian Yearwood discuss the special session at the Columbia’s Farmers Market on August 25, 2022 (file photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

Attendance issues contributed to Columbia Public Schools (CPS) scoring just 70 percent on the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) annual performance review.

CPS Superintendent Dr. Brian Yearwood tells 939 the Eagle that attendance is down since COVID.

“We are working on attendance especially for our scholars that should be in attendance 90 percent of the time. We dropped there and we are working on … we’ve put things in place to increase. We’ve increased visits, we’ve increased notifications, calling,” Dr. Yearwood says.

Dr. Yearwood says CPS is also doing celebrations for students who attend school at least 90 percent of the time. He says the district must maintain its focus on boosting attendance. Dr. Yearwood notes attendance is critical to learning.

“Every day they’re absent it’s actually three days, because you have to look at review from the day before, then the current learning and then also preparing for the next day’s lessons. So one day of absence is really three days of being absent,” says Dr. Yearwood.

He also addressed the issue briefly before dozens of Columbia business leaders and elected officials during Wednesday’s REDI board meeting.

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