NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Department of Education released its annual report card for districts and schools across the state this week.

One of the top figures on the report – attendance – revealed an unequal recovery of pandemic attendance, with economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities having much higher rates of absenteeism.

Kingsport City Schools Assistant Superintendent Andy True said the district has hired additional staff to work towards improving attendance.

“I think it’s not gotten back to the level that we would want it to be when it comes to our attendance,” True said. “And so that’s something we continue to work with our students and our families to encourage good attendance.”

Twenty percent of Kingsport students are what the state classifies as “chronically out of school,” missing 10% or more instructional days.

Roger Walk, Supervisor of Instruction with Johnson City Schools, said older students struggle with attendance, but new funding has allowed the district to hire staff to combat absenteeism.

“Those folks meet with students daily, almost to build a personal relationship, just checking in on them, making home visits,” Walk said.

In Johnson City, 11.6% of the total students miss more than 10% of instructional days, and 20.4% of economically disadvantaged students, nearly double, are chronically absent.

Both districts said the school, subject and grade-specific statistics are particularly useful.

“We want to look at those district-wide measures,” True said. “But at the same time, what can we learn from a particular grade level or a particular subject area, so that we can target our supports in that in that way?”

Overall, Kingsport has a 47.3% success rate for high school students. Johnson City has a 51.1% success rate. Success rates reflect whether students’ scores on assessments in math and English language arts met expectations.

The report card is also specifically designed to be accessible for parents with translation services and a simple design.

Districts encourage parents to get involved by looking up results online. Walk said, with the money spent on education, parents should be invested in how schools perform.

“We’re looking for that accountability with the way we spend that money and what we do for kids,” Walk said. “We need parents and members of the community working together to do this better.”