Student attendance for Mingo County Schools remains encouraging as attendance percentages continue to rise and meet state standards.

However, the less encouraging news is the number of students leaving the public school system for homeschooling also remains on the upswing.

During the Mingo County Board of Education’s Jan. 17 regular meeting, Attendance and Student Services Director Rocky Hall said, with respect to attendance rates, the latest successes continue because of the concentrated effort being put forth by the personnel at each of the county’s nine schools.

“The really good direction we’re headed right now can be credited to our CIS (Community in Schools) workers, our social workers, our assistant principals, our principals and our counselors,” Hall said. “They’ve worked diligently on addressing attendance during the last three months. That hard work is what has us going in a very good direction right now.”

Hall said the schools have implemented an array of incentive programs to encourage better attendance. He said school personnel have additionally remained unrelenting in their efforts to ensure there is no regression or even leveling off.

“It’s nothing I’ve done, it’s been due to the schools themselves … they’ve worked really hard and it’s definitely been paying off,” Hall said.

Hall said the average attendance rate for the school system during the 2021-22 school year was a little better than 87 percent.

When the first semester of the 2022-23 school year concluded in December, he said the attendance rate across the board was a little more than 93 percent, with only one school having failed to reach the 90 percent threshold.

 Hall said the county’s continued dilemma of losing students to homeschooling does not appear as if it is going to be as easily resolved.

In November, he explained, the county had 3,710 students enrolled. He said this number had decreased to 3,687, however, by the end of December.

Also, at the end of December, he said, there were 289 students being homeschooled; that number currently stands at 298.

“I really expect the number of kids going to homeschooling is going to increase with them now being eligible for Hope Scholarship funding,” Hall said. “But we are heading in the right direction as far as attendance goes, and that’s very encouraging.”

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