Chronic Absenteeism Hampering California's Continuation Schools

Continuation high schools aim to get students back on track for graduation but, with about six in ten students considered chronically absent, poor attendance habits are making it difficult for kids to get their diploma.

The stats are similar at Sacramento's American Legion High School where administrators are trying to figure out what students need to be in class.

There are a number of reasons why they may miss class and we need to identify what those reasons are,” said Sac City Unified’s Alex Barrios.  “Anything from mental health counseling to identifying maybe they’re having issues in the home.”

That has officials introducing a support system for students this fall.

“One of the key parts of that initiative is a screening process,” said Barrios.  “If a student misses class, we immediately identify who those students are and try to determine what is keeping them from coming to school.”

The district is also rolling out a new program focusing on early interventions.

“The Superintendent’s Expanded Learning Summer Program aims to automatically enroll students in classes that will help them achieve grade level,” Barrios explained.

Barrios says if students are behind in Kindergarten or 3rd grade in terms of grade level standards there's a good chance they're going to be behind their entire career.

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