By DR. BEVERLY PAYNE
Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) has partnered with several community agencies to provide support and resources for parents whose children accumulate excessive school absences. The school system has formed the Truancy Intervention Council (TIC) whose membership includes the school principal, attendance officer, and social worker. In addition, TIC will include representatives from EBCI Juvenile Justice, the EBCI prosecutor’s office, Jackson County Department of Social Services, Swain County Department of Social Services, and Meridian Behavioral Health Services.
The Truancy Intervention Council will meet monthly at the central office of CCS, beginning in January 2014. Principals will identify the families with excessive absences who they believe need the services offered by the TIC. The families will meet with the council and develop an action plan to address the truancy. One component of the action plan will include the Truancy Intervention Program. This program involves a structured group process that will allow families to identify the causes and factors of the truancy problem and to develop a plan to prevent future absences.
Truancy issues often lead to poor academic performance, which in turn may lead to students dropping out of school. Truancy may lead to other at-risk behaviors, such as substance abuse. Cherokee Central Schools believes that a collaborative effort between the schools, community agencies, and the families is the best way to address truancy issues and get students back on track to success.
For more information on the Truancy Intervention Council, the Truancy Intervention Program, or the schools’ attendance policies, please contact your child’s principal (Cherokee Elementary School, 554-5020; Cherokee Middle School, 554-5026; Cherokee High School, 554-5030).