Charles County schools ad­vo­cate against chronic ab­sen­teeism

Maryland Independent - - Front Page -

Charles County Pub­lic Schools is at­tempt­ing to curb chronic ab­sen­teeism from stu­dents’ school ex­pe­ri­ences.

While miss­ing a school day here or there can be man­aged with some fo­cused catch-up, chronic ab­sen­teeism — miss­ing at least 10 per­cent, or 18 days a school year — widens a gulf that can be dif­fi­cult to bridge.

Over time, gaps in a child’s ed­u­ca­tion as a re­sult of not show­ing up — ex­cused or not — may re­sult in fall­ing be­hind aca­dem­i­cally and fail­ing to grad­u­ate, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease.

Septem­ber is At­ten­dance Aware­ness Month. Na­tion­wide, more than 3 mil­lion, or 18 per­cent, of high school stu­dents were chron­i­cally ab­sent in 2013-14, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Civil Rights Data Col­lec­tion. By high school, reg­u­lar at­ten­dance is a bet­ter dropout in­di­ca­tor than test scores, the data re­vealed.

“A stu­dent who is chron­i­cally ab­sent in any school year be­tween the eighth and 12th grade is seven times more likely to drop out of school,” the re­port stated.

Miss­ing days from high school can be learned be­hav­ior for a stu­dent who was chron­i­cally ab­sent in el­e­men­tary and mid­dle school.

“Trends start in el­e­men­tary school and it be­comes a pat­tern,” said Sheri Mor­ri­son, stu­dent per­son­nel worker for In­dian Head and Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy el­e­men­tar y schools. A stu­dent rack­ing up one or two ab­sences a month as a young­ster will likely carry the trait on to mid­dle and high school.

“They miss so many op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Mor­ri­son said.

“The gaps in their ed­u­ca­tion are hard to make up,” said Wil­liam Miller, prin­ci­pal of Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy. “When they get older, it’s even harder to fill those gaps.”

To en­cour­age stu­dents, Mt. Hope and In­dian Head held a Spirit Week Sept. 12-15. Stu­dents took part in Shades Day by wear­ing their fa­vorite sun­glasses. Hat Day, Pi­rate Day and Su­per­hero Day also were held.

Ev­ery Stu­dent, Ev­ery Day is a na­tional ini­tia­tive to ad­dress and com­bat chronic ab­sen­teeism. Spon­sored by the U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Of­fice of El­e­men­tary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion and with the U.S. De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, U.S. De­part­ment of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment and U.S. De­part­ment of Jus­tice, the pro­gram aims to ad­dress chronic ab­sen­teeism among vul­ner­a­ble stu­dents.

Ac­cord­ing to the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment’s re­ports, among the 3 mil­lion high school stu­dents who are chron­i­cally ab­sent, African Amer­i­cans mak­ing up 22 per­cent, mul­tira­cial stu­dents 21 per­cent and Latino stu­dents come in at 20 per­cent ab­sent for 18 or more days per school year.

More than 3.5 mil­lion el­e­men­tary school stu­dents, which is 11 per­cent of their pop­u­la­tion, are chron­i­cally ab­sent each year. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, African-Amer­i­can el­e­men­tary school stu­dents are 1.4 times more likely to be chron­i­cally ab­sent than their white peers.

In Charles County, more than 2,300 chil­dren missed 20 or more days last school year, said Sue De­laCruz, su­per­vis­ing stu­dent per­son­nel worker.

“That works out to an en­tire month of school,” De­laCruz said. “Many par­ents don’t re­al­ize that miss­ing one or two days a month leads to 20 or more days in one school year.”

Chil­dren be­tween the ages of 5 and 17 are re­quired by law to at­tend school, De­laCruz said. Par­ents who do not en­sure that their chil­dren are in school ev­ery day and on time can be charged, she added.

“Ev­ery day of school that [a] child misses is a missed op­por­tu­nity for emo­tional and in­tel­lec­tual growth,” De­laCruz said in the re­lease. “Makeup work does not re­place the in­struc­tion and dis­cus­sions that oc­cur in the class­room.”

Sub­mit­ted photo

Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy El­e­men­tary School held a Spirit Week to cel­e­brate At­ten­dance Aware­ness Month. Among the themes were Pi­rate Day, Shades Day and Su­per­hero Day. Stu­dents, in­clud­ing fifth graders Monique Daniel, left, Lo­gan Bur­roughs and Todd Wil­liams Jr., dressed as their fa­vorite su­per­heroes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.