News Story 1

From the Office of the Superintendent
Posted on 10/01/2019
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WOONSOCKET – Superintendent Patrick McGee is launching a new initiative this fall designed to encourage students to be in school each and every day.

“In order for any student to be successful in school, they have to be in school,” McGee said. “If students miss even two days of school a month, that adds up to 15 or 16 days per year. That’s three weeks.”

McGee said chronic absenteeism is not new to Woonsocket nor is it a local problem. Chronic absenteeism is a major problem nationwide. Across the country, more than 8 million students are missing so many days of school that they are academically at risk.

Chronic absence — missing 10 percent or more of school days due to absence for any reason—excused, unexcused absences and suspensions, can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing subjects and ninth-graders dropping out of high school, according to research conducted by Attendance Works, a national and state initiative that pushes for better policy and practice to improve school attendance.

To combat the issue locally, school officials say parents and guardians will be receiving information from their child’s principal, the school system will be posting short informational videos on the website and social media, and each school is creating challenges and rewards designed to encourage students to be in school each day.

“We take this seriously,” McGee said. “We want to ensure families recognize the importance of children being in school and being with their classmates and teachers.”

McGee said it is not just information and awareness that school officials are focused on. He said school officials are analyzing start times, looking at bus routes, and routes for students who walk to school, as well as breakfast and lunch programs.

“This doesn’t just impact one segment of our student population,” McGee said. “While data shows that children living at or below the poverty line are most at risk, we know from our research that regardless of income level or ethnicity, chronic absenteeism is a problem in our schools. It is a barrier to future success and we are going to address it.”