Truancy & Chronic Absenteeism
What is truancy?
Truancy is a term that generally refers to unexcused absences. When students miss school without an excuse, skip school, and violate mandatory attendance requirements, that is truancy. One of the keys to academic achievement is good attendance. Regular participation in school and school-based activities is important for making a successful transition from youth to adulthood. Often, truancy is an indicator that a student may be experiencing stress or other difficulties in their life. As noted above, the Supervisor of Attendance is required to investigate truant students.
What is chronic absenteeism?
Chronic absenteeism is a measure of how much school a student misses for any reason, excused, unexcused and suspensions. It is a broader measure than truancy, which only tracks unexcused absences. Starting in the early grades, chronic absences can reach remarkably high levels.
Research backs up the notion that children will do worse in school if they aren’t in class to learn. Chronic absenteeism has been shown to have a negative impact on a student's’ academic, social and emotional outcomes. In addition, it not only has a damaging effect on those students missing excessive school days, but also has the potential to reduce outcomes for other classmates.
How does the school help eliminate barriers to learning for students who are frequently absent or tardy to school?
Each school has an attendance team comprised of administrators, counselors, social workers and nurses who meets regularly to review attendance data. The goal of this team is to support students with poor attendance. When a concern arises about a particular student, a review is conducted to try to determine the reason for the absences and how it can be addressed. Interventions may consist of a phone call, email, letter or conference with the parent/guardian. In more serious cases, the matter may be referred to the Supervisor of Attendance. The Supervisor of Attendance is required by law to investigate all cases where a child in the district fails to attend school and has the power to apprehend and take to school any child who is truant.
FPS hopes to work with families to share the importance of regular attendance and collaborate to address the underlying issues that lead to absenteeism before students miss so much school that they fall behind.