Leon County School Board Addresses Causes of Chronic Absenteeism

Leon County School Board Addresses Causes of Chronic Absenteeism

On December 11th, Jessica Lowe, the Director of Attendance and Families in Transition provided the School Board with a presentation on chronic absenteeism during a workshop meeting.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as any student that misses 10% or more of schooling each year. Currently, the national average for chronic absenteeism is 27%. In 2022, Leon County Schools were below the national average for absenteeism at 23.64%. However, this year Leon County Schools have regressed in their progress with 27.31% of students being chronically absent.

Ms. Lowe explained that LCS staff work together with different teams, programs and social workers to provide services to students. She noted the social workers help remove the barriers of entry to school by providing students with things like shoes, clothing and helping families find resources for housing. Additionally, Ms. Lowe noted that one of the reasons Leon County’s chronic absenteeism has risen can be attributed to homelessness.

Ms. Lowe explained that LCS and the public library have created a partnership so that the libraries may inform staff when there are students at the library during school hours. Because of this new partnership, the Community Liaisons go to the library three times a week to check on students. LCS is also working with the City because students will often time use their Star Metro bus cards to ride the bus all day.

Additionally, when asked if there was a demographic that is more likely to be categorized as chronically absent, Ms. Lowe identified black students and students who come from low socioeconomic families. Ms. Lowe stated, “Part of that is because of affordable housing, I’m sure you’re well aware of the housing that was torn down on the southside. That has directly impacted our students being able to have stable housing.”

5 Responses to "Leon County School Board Addresses Causes of Chronic Absenteeism"

  1. There is also tons of sickness that goes around. There are several nasty viruses including covid, Flu and RSV as well as others. A virus lasts 10 to 14 days and can be longer if severe, and sometimes people get more than one in a year. This has happened to my child more than once in past years. So far she has only missed one day this entire school year, but if she gets sick like she has in past years multiple times with bad viruses it will cause hardship. People are more cautious about sending kids ro school sick too since Covid which is a good thing for the community, the other kids and staff. This is something we can’t control and should be taken into account also.

  2. If students hang out at the library or ride the city bus all day I don’t think lack of housing is the cause of absenteeism for LCS. Most likely it’s a family culture that doesn’t prioritize education.

  3. Ms. Lowe wants us to believe that almost a third of Leon county students are chronically absent due to homelessness and a lack of affordable housing?

    I think LCS needs to stop insulting us and take credit for what they have produced.

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