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Baltimore Education Research Consortium, Spring 2008. This brief reveals that chronic absenteeism presents a significant challenge to classroom instruction and learning rates in the primary grades (1st – 5th) in Baltimore City Schools. Roughly a third of students in the first grade cohort were chronically absent at least once during their first five years. By the early secondary grades (6th and 10th), chronic absenteeism reached epidemic levels with missing significant amounts of school becoming a norm. Not surprisingly, there was a strong connection between chronic absenteeism and dropping out. For more in-depth information about chronic absence in Baltimore elementary schools, see First Grade and Forward: A Seven-Year Examination within the Baltimore City Public School System (http://baltimore-berc.org/pdfs/FIRST%20pathways%205-13-08.pdf). For additional information on attendance issues and potential strategies in Baltimore, you can also see the work of the Baltimore Attendance Initiative supported by the Open Society Institute (http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/about/offices-foundations/open-society-institute-baltimore)

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