Decreased tardiness, a solution to chronic absenteeism and more parental involvement are some of the goals the Alexander City and Tallapoosa County school systems have in the upcoming school year.

Alexander City Schools superintendent Dr. Keith Lankford said the district wants to increase literacy and math by 10% and decrease chronic absenteeism by 10%.

“All three of those (goals) our parents can help us with because I think that’s the reason why we’re here is so those kids can be productive and those three things are hindering us from reaching their potential,” Lankford said.

Tallapoosa County Schools superintendent Joe Windle said attendance impacts learning and getting to school on time should be a focus for parents of students in kindergarten through eighth grade. 

“The child needs to be in school,” Windle said. “If their child is running a fever, they need to keep them home on that particular day… A kindergartner who doesn’t ride the bus can’t get themselves to school on time. That’s a responsibility of the adult.”

Both superintendents emphasized parents need to be involved with their children to get them to school. 

If parents are too busy to take children to school or pick them up, they should arrange plans to make sure they get to school on time, according to Lankford.

“I think a lot of prior planning will really help to have a smooth transition,” Lankford said. “We don’t want our students stressed when they walk in the door. We want them relaxed and comfortable and to know they’re loved and that school is a safe place for them. That prior planning from the parents would help tremendously.”

If parents need anything they should contact the schools, Lankford said.

“We’re here to help them,” Lankford said.

Parents of ninth- through 12th-grade students should be involved and understand the credits their children need to graduate, according to Windle.

“If a child whose parent is involved and is engaged in the child’s education, the research is very clear that the child will do better in school,” Windle said.

Tallapoosa County Schools’ goals include implementing the one-to-one initiative where students are issued Chromebooks; using the 1-cent sales tax to secure bonds and arrange its capital plan; beginning preparation for accreditation from AdavancedED and improving academic performance and class instruction.

“This is a very exciting time of the year for public education because there’s a lot of energy and excitement with the beginning of a new school year,” Windle said. “It’s natural. Students are ready to come back and see their friends. The challenge is to keep that passion, to keep that energy throughout the school year and to end strong.”