PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) now makes data on chronically absent students available to the public.
A review of the data by Eyewitness News shows that Woonsocket, Pawtucket and Providence have the highest percentage of students who are on track to be chronically absent or miss at least 10 percent of the school year.
Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green said students who are often absent had higher dropout rates and lower reading skills than grade level.
“I know everyone is talking about Providence, but it’s not just a Providence issue. It’s a Rhode Island problem, ”she said.
In addition to information available to the public “Attendance ranking“, RIDE has also deployed its”Presence boost tool”, Which allows schools and districts to track student attendance and write letters or text messages to parents of children who are missing too many days.
“It allows them to track attendance, to see trends, to actually address attendance instead of just recording it,” said Infante-Green.
Infante-Green said the tool will also allow parents to understand how quickly a few days here and there can add up, a point echoed by Rhode Island Board of Education chairperson Barbara Cottam.
“Chronic absence translates to only two days per month, so we need all stakeholders to work together to ensure families know what chronic absence is and how it can negatively impact success. of their child, “Cottam said in a statement.
RIDE also plans to publish data on teacher absenteeism. Infante-Green said teachers’ data should be ready for release in the coming weeks, but she and others at RIDE are working to determine how much data will be released, citing privacy concerns.
“We are trying to be transparent about a problem that we all know we have, that we are trying to work on and fix,” she said. “I think the community needs to know that this is happening. This is important information.