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Students Attend School Consistently

Below are research and articles for the indicators for the result: Student Attendance

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  • Chronic absenteeism

Although students must be present and engage to learn, thousands of this country’s youngest students are academically at-risk because of extended absences when they first embark upon their school careers. An estimated one in ten kindergarten and first grade students are chronically absent nationally. Levels can reach even higher levels in particular schools and districts. A K-3rd grade student is defined as chronically absent when they miss 10% or more days (nearly a month) during a school year including excused and unexcused absences.

Chronically early absence reflects the degree to which schools, communities and families adequately address the needs of young children. Attendance is higher when schools provide a rich, engaging learning experience, have stable, experienced and skilled teachers and actively engage parents in their children’s education. Chronic absence decreases when educational institutions and communities actively communicate the importance of going to school regularly to all students and their parents and reach out to families when their children begin to show patterns of excessive absence. Attendance suffers when families are struggling to keep up with the routine of school despite the lack of reliable transportation, working long hours in poorly paid jobs with little flexibility, unstable and unaffordable housing, inadequate health care and escalating community violence. At the same time, communities can help lower chronic absence by providing early childhood experiences that prepare children and families for entry into formal education.

Although chronic early absence can be a significant issue for entire school districts and particular elementary schools, it has largely been overlooked. Elementary schools often track average daily attendance or unexcused absences (truancy), but few monitor the combination of excused and unexcused absence for individual students. Many school districts do not know the extent to which chronic early absence is a problem in their schools.

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