Making the Grade: Absenteeism plummets 39 percent in public schools

| September 12, 2014 | 0 Comments
Photo courtesy Hawaii State Department of Education A key component of academic success is making sure students’ okole are in their seats every school day.

Photo courtesy Hawaii State Department of Education
A key component of academic success is making sure students’ okole are in their seats every school day.

Department of Education
News Release
HONOLULU — Hawaii’s public elementary schools have made significant headway in reducing the number of students chronically absent, a strong predictor of academic success, according to the Hawaii State Department of Education 2013-14 Strive HI Performance System results.

Chronic absenteeism is one of the most powerful predictors of student success, even accounting for other factors, such as poverty and disability.
Curbing chronic absenteeism is a key focus of the Strive HI Performance System, which supports schools’ progress based on multiple, research-based indicators.

The percentage of students absent 15 days or more in the 2013-14 school year dropped to 11 percent from 18 percent a year ago. The seven-point drop boosts the prospect for achievement in other performance areas — including proficiency and graduation — for more than 5,500 students statewide.

“During a year of tremendous change in our public schools, it is clear that our students and staff continue to answer the call to strive higher at every level,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The data shows some clear bright spots, as well as some things we need to continue to work on.

“I want to thank our principals, teachers, staff and students for all of the efforts put forward to raise awareness about the importance of attendance,” said Matayoshi. “It’s not just about showing up for class; it’s about laying the educational foundation for student success.”

Launched in the 2012-13 school year, Strive HI replaced outdated aspects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, which looked only at reading and math scores to impose strict consequences to schools.

Among the most improved highest scorers for 2013-2014 were Helemano Elementary.

“The significant reductions in chronic absenteeism show schools are doing a better job at making instruction more engaging and interesting,” said Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “They are to be commended for working with families and community partners to provide wrap-around services to address attendance barriers, like health and transportation issues, intervening with at-risk students based on data and improving school culture.

“Research shows that when a leading indicator like chronic absenteeism improves, it’s a good sign that improvements in grades, graduation rates and college-going rates will follow,” Nozoe added.

Also, 14 schools met the Recognition School criteria for highest-performing or highest-progress schools for the first time. These schools will receive recognition and a financial reward at an event next month.
Among them, again, was Helemano Elementary.

Strive HI System Index
Review data at

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