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ERIC Number: EJ917568
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0271-6062
Curbing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades
Chang, Hedy N.
Principal, v89 n5 p46-48, 50-51 May-Jun 2010
Most educators, especially elementary principals, know from experience and common sense that attending school regularly during the early elementary years is essential. Young children need enough time in the classroom to gain the basic social and academic skills that will equip them to succeed long term in school. What many educators might not realize, however, is that thousands of the youngest students are at risk because they are chronically absent, missing 10 percent or more of school over the course of an academic year. Nationwide, nearly one out of 10 kindergartners and first graders is chronically absent. While chronic absence is not a problem everywhere, in some communities, it affects as much as a quarter of all the children in kindergarten through third grade across an entire district, or as many as half the students in a single elementary school. If large numbers of students miss school, then academic performance for all students can suffer, as teachers divert their attention from the rest of the class to meet the needs of children who are frequently absent. The good news is that chronic early absence is not inevitable. Rather, it can be reduced substantially when elementary schools partner with communities and families to monitor and promote attendance, as well as to identify and eliminate barriers that inhibit young students from coming to school every day. Principals are essential to any school-based effort to address chronic early absence. The principal can set the stage by regularly examining data and making sure all members of the school community treat attendance as a priority, starting with school entry. This article provides a few examples of what principals can do. (Contains 2 online resources.)
National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). 1615 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: 800-386-2377; Tel: 703-684-3345; Fax: 800-396-2377; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Kindergarten
Audience: Administrators
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A