Bettendorf School District’s “at-risk” student population grows

Data presented on Monday night shows that nearly two in every five elementary students in the district are now “at-risk”

BETTENDORF, Iowa - Data presented to the Bettendorf School Board on November 18 shows the number of "at-risk" students, or students not meeting educational goals, is on the rise.

Tammy Chelf, the district's At-risk coordinator gave the presentation.

The data shows that 38% of the district's 2,046 elementary students are considered "at-risk."

That's up from 34% last year.

Of those students, 11% of them are considered "potential dropout students."

The district describes potential dropout students are students who are often absent, late, and disengaged in class, which leads to low achievement in the classroom.

The number of "at-risk" students is also on the rise at the middle school level.

There are 1,101 middle school students in the district and 35% of them at considered "at-risk" in 2019, up from 28% in 2018.

The number of "potential dropouts" is up to 13% in 2019 from 8% in 2019.

"It can be challenging" said Chelf. "I think when you look at some of the impacts that social and emotional learning has on students and on teachers, with classrooms being full, teachers are asked to do more, sometimes with less."

The district is focusing heavily on early-intervention and staff training to try and fight the trends.

"All of our staff members have gone through training in things like trauma-informed care, mental health first-aid, adverse childhood experiences and so on," said Chelf.

Chelf hopes presenting the information to the board will encourage them to be more involved in learning about ways to fight the trends.

"I encourage board members, the new board members as well as our remaining board members, to get into classrooms and see what’s going on there," said Chelf.

Chelf also hopes presenting the data offers a chance for more minds to come together and consider which forms of intervention are working to prevent these numbers from continuing to rise.