By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Research shows that one in ten in kindergarten and first grade students miss a month of school with both excused and unexcused absences. By middle and high school the rates of chronic absence, missing 10% of school days, are even higher.
Many times, it’s not truancy, since most kids don’t stay home without a parent’s knowledge. Schools generally measure school-wide attendance, or track truancy, not capturing excused absences
If absences are clustered in one neighborhood, safety may be the issue. A bus or designated safe route can help. Asthma or other chronic illnesses can be a problem and health services can be tapped.
If chronic absence takes place in a particular classroom, a teacher may need assistance with curriculum or parent partnerships. Volunteer mentors can help parents who don’t understand.
By 9th grade, missing 20% of the school year is a better predictor of dropping out than test scores.
Learn how Baltimore cut its chronic absentee rate in half at Attendance Works.