In the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area, approximately 18,500 students were chronically absent during the school year. Chronic absence can be defined as missing 10% or more school days throughout the academic year, whether the absences are excused, unexcused or disciplinary in nature.1 This means chronically absent students miss more than 18 days – about a month of school – each year.
A growing body of research links consistent school attendance to improved academic performance, grade attainment, college graduation rates and related outcomes such as long-term financial stability. Yet chronic absence often goes unnoticed. Historically, schools count how many students show up every day rather than examining which students are missing numerous days and falling behind.