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DC State Board of Ed to Hold Roundtable on "Moving Past Truancy: Chronic Absenteeism in the District of Columbia"

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

For Immediate Release 

Contact: Jesse B Rauch, Executive Director, 202.741.0884



Washington, DC – The District of Columbia State Board of Education (State Board) Truancy and Student Engagement Committee will hold a public roundtable on Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 5:30pm to discuss truancy, chronic absence, and practical approaches to developing strategies for addressing  these education challenges and improving student engagement.

A recent Washington Post article estimated that 40 percent of District of Columbia Public Schools students were chronically absent during the 2012-2013 school year. Of this group, nearly half missed the equivalent of seven weeks of school. The disappearance of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd cast a spotlight on gaps in the policies and procedures schools follow to monitor and verify student attendance.

Recently, there has been a push by some advocacy and research organizations for states and school districts to begin documenting chronic absenteeism, which typically is defined as a number of days or percentage of the school year missed due to both excused and unexcused absences. Educational risks are the same regardless of whether an absence is excused or unexcused. Research demonstrates that chronic absence is associated with lower academic performance and a higher likelihood of dropping out of school

The roundtable will provide an opportunity for education stakeholders to share their perspectives on existing gaps in the District’s current compulsory attendance laws and regulations. It also will provide a forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities for expanding the District’s current focus on truancy to include a new focus on chronic absence.

The public roundtable will occur on Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 5:30pm at 441 4th Street NW in the Old Council Chambers. All students, parents, and educators, and community members are invited to provide testimony.

Individuals and representatives of organizations who wish to comment at the meeting are asked to notify State Board staff in advance by phone at (202) 741-0888 or by email at [email protected] and furnish their names, addresses, telephone numbers, and organizational affiliation, if any, by the close of business the Monday prior to the meeting. They should also bring fifteen (15) copies of their written statements with them to the meeting and are encouraged to submit one (1) electronic copy in advance.

The meeting will air live on District Knowledge Network (DKN) Comcast Channel 99, RCN Channel 18, and Fios Channel 12.

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