Shockingly Low Attendance Rates At Hayward Schools Found To Be Incorrect

Hayward’s Jackson Triangle between
Jackson St, Mission Blvd, Harder Rd.

HAYWARD//EDUCATION | The Hayward Neighborhood Promise project report presented to the city council last month was vastly incorrect in its initial calculations concerning attendance and graduation rates in the Jackson Square Triangle, one of the city’s most impoverished areas.

At the time the project manager, Melinda Hall, stated that there was an error between the chronic absentee and the daily average attendance and would have more accurate numbers for the council soon. At the time the report said average daily attendance for 2012 was 75 percent for 6th grade, 22 percent for 7th, 29 percent for 8th and 16 percent for 9th grade. For graduation there was a 75 percent rating for Hayward High and a low 34 percent for Tennyson.

The updated report states two different attendance ratings. The first is based off of a federal calculation and the second are numbers pulled from the school district. Both show average daily attendance around or above the 80 percentile.

>>>Federal Calculations 
Grades All Students in 6 Focus Schools Jackson Triangle Students in 6 Focus Schools
6th Grade 88.6% 84.5%
7th Grade 79.8% 83.6%
8th Grade 84.7% 87.5%
9th Grade 83.4% 85.1%

>>>School Calculations
Grades All Students in 6 Focus Schools Jackson Triangle Students in 6 Focus Schools
6th Grade 96.0% 95.4%
7th Grade 95.4% 91.6%
8th Grade 95.1% 94.2%
9th Grade 93.9% 92.7%

The graduation numbers were inaccurate as well. The new numbers show Hayward High’s graduation rate at a troubling 64.1 percent for all students and 75.4 percent for Jackson Triangle students in all six focus schools. Tennyson High’s numbers are even lower with all students’ graduation levels at 64.8 percent and Jackson Triangle students at 65.5 percent. For context, 76 percent of all high school students in California graduated last year, according to EdSource.

Management of the Hayward Promise Neighborhood recognize that the graduation rates are low but are engaging in direction intervention with students who are not meeting graduation requirements. The former numbers showed 75 percent graduation rate for Hayward High and 34 percent for Tennyson High.

At the time the original numbers were reported to the council Mar. 26, Mayor Michael Sweeney was the most caustic critic of the inaccurate low attendance scores. When Library Commissioner, Sean Reinhardt, said he believed there to be an error but could not explain how the Mayor said, “That’s not a very good excuse for not explaining this data. Unless these numbers go up, this is going to fail, this whole thing is going to go up in flames.”

Sweeney has since then said he has not been provided the data and is “obviously not impressed.” Councilmember Al Mendall, on the other hand, says he has been given the new data, but it was not received as soon as expected.

Hall said she isn’t certain how the mistake in the data happened but said there were a lot of people who collaborated on the report and at some point someone inserted inaccurate data. Hall said the original report wasn’t even suppose to have data in it and was only suppose to serve as a narrative report on what they were doing in the Jackson Triangle.

The Promise Neighborhood Initiative is part of a federal grant from the Department of Education. Cal State East Bay was one of five recipients in the nation to be awarded the 5-year, $25 million dollar grant that aims to provide a continuous pathway from kindergarten to college with guiding principles to help assist the goal.

Shane Bond is an East Bay Citizen contributor.

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