Dubuque Schools Working to Cut Back on Absenteeism

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa — As the new school year begins, administrators at the Dubuque Community School District are beginning a new initiative to cut down on absenteeism.

The school district is placing banners outside every school building reminding parents of the importance of sending students to school every single day. Also this year, teachers will encourage students to make coming to school their own responsibility, even if the student's parents are not making that effort.

Administrators in the school district said that one in every ten students is "chronically absent", meaning the student missed 18 days or more in a school year. Missed class time at such a young age is more impactful than parents realize. "The kids are getting behind which leads to not being proficient at the end of 3rd grade in reading," said administrator Shirley Horstman. "Being chronically absent is the single biggest predictor of dropping out of high school later on. "

Horstman said a lot of the missed time for younger students falls on parents. "Sometimes children miss because they have to baby-sit siblings who may be ill or sometimes mom and dad aren't able to get them to school because Mom and Dad are working and the kids miss the school bus."

Through the new initiative teachers will encourage students to take the responsibility of coming to school into their own hands.ke the responsibility of coming to school into their own hands.
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