The first step toward educational success is showing up.
A study of San Antonio schools shows 15% of students were "chronically absent" during the 2015-2016 school year, accounting for 45% of all absences. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing at least 10 percent of the school year, or 18 days in a 180-day school year.
Being chronically absent is not the same as truancy. A student is truant in Texas if they have 10 unexcused absences in six months or three in four weeks, and there may be legal ramifications.
There are many reasons why students miss school: lack of transportation, housing instability, family responsibility, struggling in the classroom, avoiding bullies, or dealing with other challenges at home.
Absenteeism affects academic performance. According to national research, students who miss school fail to learn important skills, score lower on assessments and are less likely to graduate from high school.
Children who miss even two days of school a month are five times more likely to fall behind in reading, writing and math.
What are the root causes of chronic absenteeism and what efforts are being made to increase attendance in San Antonio schools?
- Coda Rayo-Garza, Director of Policy and Communications for the P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County
- Katherine Pena, administrator for the Harlandale Independent School District
- Dr. Patty Escobedo, executive director of pupil services for Southwest ISD
- Tara Lazaro, field manager for Communities in Schools of San Antonio
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