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Hartford Schools Launch Initiatives to Address Chronic Truancy |  Connecticut News

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Hartford Public Schools is battling an increase in chronic absenteeism that has been made much worse by the pandemic.

The district has worked on many initiatives to try to help kids stay in class.

Currently, approximately 45% of students in the district are chronically absent.

The omicron variant is a major reason why this number has increased.

School leaders are taking a multi-pronged approach in hopes of bringing these numbers down.

It’s Hartford Public Schools Olympics Attendance Month.

Each week, Maria Sanchez School displays the average daily attendance per class and medals are awarded to students.

“The class that has the highest daily attendance wins an additional unified art so they can get an additional gym, music, or art class,” said Evelyn Mendoza-Overton, the principal.

It’s one of many initiatives the district is taking in hopes of encouraging more students to be excited about being in school.

“We really foster that sense of community and collaboration. We are a huge district. We have over 39 schools,” said Corinne Barney, district attendance strategy manager.

About 45% of students in the Hartford Public Schools District are considered chronically absent.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as the absence of 10% or more of school days.

This number was around 20% before the pandemic.

“We’re looking at those root causes and trying to identify how quickly can we change, how quickly can we identify additional supports and additional partnerships,” said Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, superintendent of Hartford Public Schools. .

The superintendent says the omicron variant has forced many students into self-quarantine and more students have missed school.

During the 2021-2022 school year, the average student in Hartford missed 14 days of school.

School leaders say reducing these numbers of absentees requires a community-wide approach centered on awareness.

“We want to build relationships with students and with families. Because we feel that we are the center of the community.

About 7,600 students identified as chronically absent missed an average of 24 days.

Next month will be March Madness Dating Month.

The objective is to reduce the absenteeism rate from 45% to 33 or 35% by the end of the school year.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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