Hartford Public Schools leaders say more students are missing too much class, and the district is taking on a new plan of action.
The number of students who miss school on a chronic basis in Hartford is twice as high as the national average.
“A lot of times students are absent from my classes,” said Alexa Marotta, a senior at the Hartford Magnet Trinity Academy.
Absenteeism is a problem in Hartford.
“When one out of four students is chronically absent, it is a crisis for our community,” said Luke Bronin, mayor of Hartford.
School Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez says a student is chronically absent when they miss 10 percent of the school year, or 18 days.
“While it does not sound like a lot, we know from the research that it makes a profound impact on student performance,” she said.
Paid for in part through grants and state funding, Hartford Public Schools is now partnering with Attendance Works, a leading national organization that helps districts use data to solve attendance issues.
“To try to identify each and every student and then the barrier,” said Torres-Rodriguez. “Whatever the barrier is that is keeping that student from coming to school.”
Torres-Rodriguez says schools will tap community organizations like the United Way to reach students and families. It's a multi-faceted approach to get more kids in class.
“It’s sad to see that so many miss it because school is so important,” Marotta said. “It allows you to grow and have those friendships.”