BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — According to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), about 9,000 students did not attend class during the pandemic and truancy continues to be an issue. An issue that BESE is trying to fix.

More than one thousand educators are here to advance careers and technical education but the first challenge they have to face is getting the students back in the classroom. “We just need to make sure that we continue to refine those processes to reduce absenteeism and to reduce truancy throughout the state,” explained Cade Brumley, Superintendent of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Child Welfare & Attendance Hearing Officer, Tracy Barber, says their goal is to encourage students to return, by having teachers check in on them at home. “Frequent home visits for students that have hit a threshold in terms of their absences to really try and connect with the families and kind of peel layers back and find out what are the barriers, whether the obstacles that are preventing regular attendance,” he claimed.

Once students return, not only will they learn the basics, but state educators, want to shift the focus to Career and Technical Education, or CTE. Giving more career opportunities for students. “We still believe that our students are smart enough to obtain college degrees, but we also have an increased value in our technical programs and we understand the benefit of the training, the skill set that the technical programs offer,” stated LaDinah Carter, Executive Director, High School Supports.

During the Jump Start Convention, experts worked with teachers on different ways to make that happen. “We need more of our students on that vocational track so that whenever they graduate high school, they can graduate with their credentials or an apprenticeship and they’re ready to go to work,” Brumley said.

Many educators say that they will take what they learned today and implement it in the classrooms as soon as possible.