Back to School: Battling chronic absenteeism in North Tahoe-Truckee | SierraSun.com

Back to School: Battling chronic absenteeism in North Tahoe-Truckee

Kelli Twomey
Special to the Sun

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Attendance at school is essential to every student's success, and absences can easily add up to academic trouble.

TTUSD is encouraging all families to start off the year right and minimize absences unless a child is ill. Families should get their children to school as often as possible and align vacations and appointments with the school calendar to avoid unnecessary absences.

Each day missed at school is a missed day of instruction, a day of classroom interaction with students and teachers that cannot be recovered.

Chronic absence — missing 10 percent or more of school for any reason (just two-three days a month) — is a nationwide problem, and a proven predictor of academic trouble and higher dropout rates.

When students are chronically absent, it slows down instruction as other students must wait while the teacher repeats material. This makes it harder for students to learn and teachers to teach.

On the other hand, good attendance helps children do well in school and prepares students for success on the job and in life.

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READ MORE: Tahoe-Truckee schools saw improvement with chronic absenteeism during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.

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The leadership at each TTUSD school site monitors how many days a child misses so they can intervene early and work together with families to identify and help overcome barriers to getting to school.

If a student has a situation where they know that they will miss more three of more days in a row of school, they should take advantage of the District's Independent Study program to stay on top of their school work.

"Chronic absence prevents too many students from having a chance to learn and succeed," shared TTUSD Superintendent-Chief Learning Officer Rob Leri. "Everyone has a stake and role in ensuring that students are in school every day, and that's why TTUSD is committing resources and attention to address this often overlooked problem."

TTUSD is participating in September's Attendance Awareness Month — a nationwide event recognizing the connection between school attendance and academic achievement.

Kelli Twomey is Coordinator of Parent & Community Relations at the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Visit ttusd.org to learn more.

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