The definition of absenteeism is chronic absence from school. Principals, teachers and school staff know that when students are not in school, their learning is adversely impacted. Chronic absenteeism is defined by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) as students missing 10% of more of the school year. Recently the ODE created an entire initiative to help Oregon’s schools combat chronic absenteeism. The first step was hiring Chronic Absenteeism Coordinators, who will work in each region of the state with area school districts to improve attendance.
Landon Braden is the coordinator for eastern Oregon. Based out of La Grande, Braden began his new job on July 1, 2018, working with 26 districts to help reduce and prevent absenteeism. He partners with administrators, using data, tools and resources to build a program that works for their students and district.
“We know chronic absenteeism is a difficult problem to solve and what works in one district may not work in another. We want to develop solutions alongside districts based off the unique needs in each district,” Braden said.
What is the overall goal for the Chronic Absenteeism initiative? The State of Oregon’s wants to reduce the chronic absenteeism rate and increase attendance. The state’s current CAR (chronic absenteeism rate) is 19.7% and the goal is 17.8%. Eastern Oregon’s average of 19.1% is just below the state average.
During the 2018-19 school year, the InterMountain ESD is working with Braden to share information about this program. For more information, contact landon.bradenimesd.k12.or.us.