Nearly a third of Washington students are chronically absent

    Carmichael Middle School in Richland is hoping to identify at risk students before their absence becomes detrimental. <p>{/p}

    A new study from the U.S. Department of Education says kids in Washington schools are chronically absent like never before.

    For the 2015-16 school year, nearly 30 percent of kids in Washington were classified as chronically absent.

    Missing over a week of school can have big implications on a child's success. Students in Washington are falling behind, but our local schools say they're doing everything they can to encourage students to get to school.

    Grabbing those books and heading to class can only happen if a child shows up to school in the first place.

    In Washington, nearly 27 percent of students aren't attending school regularly. Which has Washington students falling behind.

    “The impact of even one day lost is probably more catastrophic than it ever has been before,” said Carmichael Middle School principal Brian Stadelman.

    According to the Department of Education, chronic absenteeism happens when a student misses 15 or more days a year.

    “If they're not showing up to school, they can't get those skills to be employable in the future which is our end goal,” Principal Stadelman said.

    Stadelman says the Richland School District is trying everything they can to help set their students up for success.

    “Is it an illness issue that we can help provide support for? Is it a social interaction that's not going well at school? Is it academic struggles? Do we need to offer academic support to help the student feel more comfortable coming to school?” said Stadelman.

    The study done by the Department of Education says minority students and students with disabilities are significantly more likely to miss school than other students,

    “You might have ten kids with ten absences each one of them has their own unique story that we try to address,” Stadelman said.

    Principal Stadleman says they're closely monitoring only 20 students out of about 900. Which puts them well above the state average for chronically absent students.

    “We've already got kids with five or six absences they're already kind of our close watch list,” Stadelman said.

    Stadleman says Tri-City educators and administrators have worked together to try to beat the issue in the community, but he has no idea as to why Washington is falling so far behind.

    Principal Stadleman says the best way to encourage good attendance habits are to find what your child really likes during the school days and really feed off that to encourage them to get to school.

    If you think your child is at risk for chronic absenteeism he says get in touch with your child's school to work on a solution.

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