The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has been collaborating with the Mississippi State Social Science Research Center through “Kids Count” and the national organization Attendance Works to shine a light on the silent epidemic of chronic absenteeism.
Through the collaboration, the MDE hosted the first chronic absenteeism summit on April 6, 2017. More than 150 participants attended.
Chronic absenteeism is a measure of how much school a student misses for any reason, which is a broader measure than truancy, which only tracks unexcused absences. Chronic absenteeism focuses on the three components: suspensions and unexcused and excused absences. Students who miss 10 percent or more of the school year are considered to be chronically absent.
Attendance Works promotes utilizing and tracking chronic absence data for each student beginning in kindergarten, or ideally earlier, and partnering with families and community agencies to intervene when poor attendance is a problem for students or schools.
The MDE Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement and the Office of Elementary Education and Reading pooled resources to make the summit a reality.