We recently had the opportunity to be interviewed for Dateline:Schools, a daily radio and video streaming program that highlights the positive happenings in the schools of St. Clair County, Michigan. The program is hosted by former radio/TV news journalist Terry Harrington who is also serves as the county’s Truancy Officer. This is what he says about chronic absenteeism in the county:
“With student count day scheduled for early October in Michigan, daily school attendance is always a hot topic of discussion at the start of the new school year. In Michigan, annual state funding for local schools is based on two student count days, one in October and the other in February.
“Like it is nationally, chronic absenteeism is a growing concern for school leaders in St. Clair County, [which is located about 60 miles north of Detroit along the U.S. /Canada border]. According to data from the Michigan Department of Education,15% of the more than 20,000 students in the seven public school districts and two charter schools in St. Clair County were chronically absent during the 2020/2021 school year. This compares to the nearly 20% of chronic absent students for the entire state of Michigan.
“As the Truancy Officer for St. Clair County, every day I see the negative impact chronic absenteeism has on the success of our local students and how it affects their family story too. I often ask the question, is chronic absenteeism strictly a school issue or is this a community issue? How should local schools address chronic absences and what strategies can be implemented to reverse this trend?”
Below are the links to the week of October 4th Dateline:Schools episodes featuring Hedy Chang. Click on each one to watch!
Topic 1: What is chronic absence and how does it impact student achievement?
Topic 2: What are some of the barriers to being in school, and why is early action important?
Topic 3: What are some of the tools and resources that Attendance Works makes available at the local, state and national level?
Topic 4: What are conditions for learning that support regular attendance, and what are some proven strategies for educators and communities?
Topic 5: How can educators engage and support families?