Communities In Schools is Addressing the Problem of Chronic Absenteeism

Nearly 1 in 7 U.S. students miss nearly a month of school each year. “If kids aren’t in school, they can’t learn. And unfortunately, that’s the reality for millions of U.S. school children,” says Dale Erquiga, Communities In Schools National President and CEO. Chronic absenteeism negatively impacts everyone, from the student who misses valuable instruction time, to the teacher who must re-teach the same material for students who miss out. When it comes to a solution, Communities In Schools of Houston (CIS), through our presence within the school, provides students with direct support and encouragement while connecting them to the community resources they need to stay in the classroom through graduation.

When a child misses 15 or more school days per year, they are considered “chronically absent.” Some students are more at risk. Children living in poverty are two to three times more likely to be chronically absent. There are many different reasons why students miss school including:

  • Being bullied and feeling isolated

  • Struggling academically or being behind in credits

  • Feeling disengaged from school

  • Having to work or take care of younger children or sick relatives

  • Facing chronic health issues

  • Fear of walking to school in an unsafe neighborhood

  • Experiencing homelessness

  • Not having clean clothes or clothes that fit

These problems affect the attendance rate of students at all ages, but are more prevalent among High School students. CIS Student Support Specialists implement specific strategies and interventions to combat attendance issues and come up with solutions. From focusing on parental engagement at the Elementary level, to identifying the root causes of absence, such as bullying, homelessness, depression, transportation, and family responsibilities among older grade levels, CIS Student Support Specialists coordinate solutions based on a student’s individual situation.

The CIS model of Integrated Student Supports has produced results, specifically  improved attendance and on-time graduation rates. From performing home visits for students with severe attendance issues, providing students with basic needs such as food and clothing, connecting them with a caring mentor, setting attendance goals, and supporting the family as a whole, the CIS model is proven to keep kids in school and increase graduation rates. CIS of Houston continues to be “all in for kids” and do whatever it takes to help students stay in school and achieve in life. Thanks to supporters like the Rockwell Fund and The United Way of Greater Houston, CIS is able to improve student attendance in school.

CIS of Texas Statewide Results:

CIS Houston