Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing ten percent or more of the academic year for any reason. Based on a 180 day school year, that means a student would miss about 18 days per year.
Education has always provided children with the opportunity to overcome differences in privilege and background. This is only possible, however, if students attend school every day and receive the support they need to learn and thrive. At the same time, we know that children experience serious adversity in their lives — including crippling poverty, health challenges, community violence, and often difficult family circumstances that can make it difficult for them to attend school every day.
The most significant problem is chronic absenteeism – defined as missing at least 18 days of school per year – which studies have shown has serious negative impacts on children and their families. It leads to the student falling behind in their studies, thus dramatically increasing their risk of dropping out of school altogether. Once the student drops out of school, most often at the high school level, they are at greater risk of other life problems such as the continuing cycle of poverty, diminished health outcomes, drug and alcohol abuse, and involvement in the criminal justice system.
While schools certainly play an important role in helping to solving this problem, there is only so much they can or are willing to do outside the school setting. HKGTS believes that parents must play the central role in removing the barriers that prevent their children from attending school and being the prime motivator and role model for regular attendance.
HKGTS’s parent-centered mentoring program is designed to work directly with parents to give them the skills and knowledge to help them reverse chronic absenteeism and reduce its negative impacts.