Cumberland County school officials conduct ride along to reduce absences

Students board a school bus in Cumberland County.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cumberland County Schools officials are working to reduce the number of unexcused absences as the new school year starts.

Nearly 50,000 traditional calendar students in Cumberland County return to school Monday.

Last year, Cumberland County school district employed various efforts to ensure students get to class on time.

Superintendent Frank Till said they saw a 25 percent decrease in tardiness last year and test scores are up.

CBS North Carolina traveled with Mark Rowden, community liaison and Officer Kendra Faire, visiting homes of students habitually late for class in the Douglas Byrd school district.

School officials said Douglas Byrd had the worst tardiness record in the entire district.

Rowden and Fair targeted students with seven or more unexcused absences.

This year, they’ll visit homes of students who have 10 unexcused absences.

“Overall in the district, there was approximately 49 percent decrease in the unexcused tardy so we believe that’s pretty good,” Rowden said.

Rowden said they’re looking to expand the effort and focus on other districts within Cumberland County.

Last year district court Judge Robert Steel and Superintendent Frank Till also attended a ride along with Rowden.

Rowden said they’re expected to do the same this year.

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