Troup County School's Systems Approach

How a Systems Approach to Attendance Transformed Troup County Schools

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By SchoolStatus 3 min

The Troup County School System is committed to educating ALL students using creative strategies that provide ‘A Place For Every Kid.’

Dr. Brian Shumate took over as Superintendent of Troup County Schools in 2019 and decided to bring a systems approach to district improvement. A systems approach emphasizes the relationship between parts in a system, rather than focusing solely on one part at a time. From discipline to curriculum to attendance, Dr. Shumate built a coherent system that the 12,200 students, 1,800 employees, and all of the district’s families could trust. Attendance was at the heart of this improvement.

Attendance is what holds everything together—it’s fundamental…we can’t teach them if they’re not there.” —Dr. Brian Shumate, Superintendent

Just 15 months into his role as Superintendent, Dr. Shumate and his team addressed deficits in the curriculum, created a student code of conduct, established consistent practices within the district, and engaged their larger community. 

Troup County’s Success Story

40% attendance improvement

Troup County Schools worked with SchoolStatus to realize Dr. Shumate’s goals. Between February 2022 and February 2023, they saw:

  • 54% of students at risk of chronic absenteeism return to school and didn’t need a second intervention
  • 40% attendance improvement after Family/student meetings with administrators
  • 1800+ documented meetings with families/guardians regarding attendance
  • 9500+ total attendance-related communications sent to families

Dr. Shumate knows though that without the support of the community, the district would not be able to support students the way that it does. “I appreciate the people who have a vested interest in the success of this district and its students,” he said. “I see us as a unifying force in the county, and it’s going to take the ongoing support of our community as we continue to improve.”

As of today, Troup County Public Schools has 19 schools and 12,160 students, with a 15:1 ratio for students-to-teachers––higher than the state average. Within the district, there is an 86.4% graduation rate. 

Improving Attendance is a Team Sport 

Dr. Shumate’s holistic approach brought consistency across the board. As he explains, “When I say consistency, I don’t mean maintain the status quo. It’s about creating new, consistent applications…When you have systemic coherence––I don’t care if it’s attendance or curriculum or discipline––you’re going to get better, and it’s going to create trust within the community and from our teachers.”

With over 30 years of experience, Dr. Shumate knows that earning trust starts with clear choices. He doesn’t want a hierarchy—he wants a direct line of communication. Every principal in the district has his personal cell phone number and he has regular meetings with families throughout the district. As a result, his confidence in embracing change to reach high expectations and standards has rubbed off on those around him. 

Our district has become stronger, and I think people have more faith in us because we have a plan, we execute the plan, and we modify the plan as we go.”
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Find out how districts are successfully improving attendance with SchoolStatus Attend

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SchoolStatus is a unified K-12 platform that enables districts and schools to engage more families and improve attendance with our easy-to-use communications hub and data-driven attendance solutions. We support an integrated and impactful educational experience, from district leadership to families at home. With more than two hundred million successful school-home interactions, and millions of users, SchoolStatus drives meaningful results for districts and schools across the US.
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