In the release of the California School Dashboard data in December, chronic absenteeism was included as a status-only indicator. The data showed that, as a state, 1 in 10 students are chronically absent from school. Looking at different groups of students showed the following:
The picture for our San Luis Obispo County shows a higher percentage of absenteeism across all student groups with the exception of English Learners. In the fall of 2018, chronic absenteeism will become an indicator that will affect district status on the CA Dashboard.
We are all familiar with the research around students who miss 10 percent of the school year being less likely to read proficiently by 3rd grade, having poorer performance in middle school and having a higher likelihood that they will drop out in high school. Students living in poverty, students of colo,r and students with disabilities have disproportionately higher rates of chronic absenteeism.
CDE provides recommendations based on legislation and links to reports and outside resources that can support your efforts in reducing/eliminating chronic absenteeism. It is imperative to take a collaborative and team approach to supporting our most vulnerable students. Some ideas from CDE for those charged with improving attendance include:
Recognizing pupils who achieve excellent attendance or demonstrate significant improvement in attendance.
Referral to a school nurse, school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, and other pupil support personnel for case management and counseling.
Collaborating with school study teams, guidance teams, school attendance review teams, or other intervention-related teams to assess the attendance or behavior problem in partnership with the pupil and his or her parents, guardians, or caregivers.
In schools with significantly higher rates of chronic absenteeism, identify barriers to attendance that may require schoolwide strategies instead of case management.
The old adage that students have to be present and engaged in order to learn is even more critical as the standards demand so much more from our students. Addressing the barriers for our students now will pay dividends going forward.