By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Five to 7.5 million kids miss school for a month every year – excused and unexcused absences, starting as early as pre-kindergarten. School districts too often focus on truancy without tracking excused absences.
Attendance has always been viewed as administrative, not as a way to boost student achievement. Moreover, if children miss school and don’t master reading by the end of 3rd grade they’re more likely to drop out. Those living in poverty have some of the highest absentee rates and are the most at risk academically.
New York City created a model to alleviate absenteeism: using data to identify students who are chronically absent, determining the barriers to attendance, engaging parents, rewarding results, making sure that schools can deal with health issues and safe transportation.
Most impressive is a program in which mentors greet chronically absent kids at school or call home when they don’t show up.
Read more in The Washington Post.