Finding Answers In the Chronic Absenteeism ‘Black Box’

Many more students than usual nationwide missed big chunks of school during the pandemic, with some school districts seeing their chronic absenteeism rates double.

That metric, which looks at the share of students who missed 10% or more of the school year, is an important one. But it doesn’t offer any insight into why a student missed so much class, or how best to help them.

“A lot of kids that are absent in school, they may be behind in the class, really feel like they don’t have a place in the class, or the teacher doesn’t understand them or respect them as the person they are. And that creates issues where they don’t want to be in those classes,” said Nick Hawkins, one of Fargo’s specialists. “It all begins with respect and feeling welcomed and feeling understood.”

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