Absenteeism dropping at RSU 10 high schools

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RUMFORD — Chronic absenteeism has dropped at Regional School Unit 10’s high schools in Rumford and Buckfield in the past year, Superintendent Deb Alden told directors Monday night.

During 2018-19, 41.69 percent of students at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford did not attend school 10 percent of the time. In 2016-17, the percentage was 46.47. This year, as of Oct. 17, it is slightly more than 23 percent.

At Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, 22.95 percent were chronically absent in 2018-19, compared to 26 percent in 2016-17. As of Oct. 17, more than 11 percent were chronically absent.

“You can see we definitely still want to do better, but it’s going in the right direction,” Alden said.

Mountain Valley High School teacher Chris Brennick told directors he and Principal Matt Gilbert, along with Assistant Principal Tom Danylik, are part of a team that visits homes of students who are frequently absent.

Along with the home visits, the high school is incorporating schoolwide, positive-behavior interventions; calls when a student has missed five days; and a six-member team of educators and administrators to identify and design interventions for students who are struggling with academics, behavior and attendance. 

RSU 10 includes Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury, Hanover, Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner. 

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Buckfield Junior-Senior High School student Jenna Doucette, left, and Mountain Valley High School student MacKenzie Arsenault are student representatives to the Regional School Unit 10 board of directors. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

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