DMPS Using Survey to Understand Why Students are Skipping Class

DES MOINES, Iowa – The Des Moines Public School District is using a survey to see why students are skipping school.

According to the district, 40 percent of its high school students are reporting absences. That is up five percent compared to last year, while the middle schools are seeing a two percent increase of absences.

Beginning Monday, students sixth through 12th grade will receive a survey in their email inbox.

DMPS Director of Assessment Data and Evaluation Mary Grinstead said the survey asks various questions about how a student feels in the classroom.

“There’s about three different areas we are going to be asking questions around. The actual instruction in the classroom. We have a theory, or an idea to test out asking them is it the instruction, it’s not relevant, it’s not engaging. We will be asking them about their relationships with their teachers and staff in the building. Also, the social-emotional support they’re receiving at school,” Grinstead said.

Grinstead said when a student misses 10 percent or more of school it is an indicator the student may drop out of school.

“When we look at the data lots of kids aren’t missing the full day. They are coming late. Sometimes they are leaving in the middle of the day, sometimes they are missing early. A lot of kids are coming late, so I think that will help to push that start time back 45 minutes,” Grinstead said.

Grinstead hopes the change in start times next year will bring down the absences.

The survey is not a requirement, but the district hopes enough students participate to understand the reason behind the increase of absences.

The survey will be open until the end of the week.