All children and families have the supports they need to access early education, school and afterschool and attend every day
This goal was created in partnership with the Baltimore Attendance Collaborative (see appendix). It intentionally recognizes that barriers to attendance reflect both valuing attendance and having the resources to address real barriers to attendance such as health, transportation, or housing issues. In Baltimore City, the level of absenteeism is epidemic with nearly one out of five students in pre-k – 12th grade missing a month or more of school each year. For pre-K through 5th grade specifically, 21% of students are chronically absent. A 2012 study of pre-k attendance patterns amongst Baltimore City Public School students conducted by the Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC) found that chronically absent pre-kindergartners were:
- More likely to be eligible for the free and reduced meals programs
- More likely to have lower school readiness scores
- More likely to be chronically absent at least one more year between kindergarten and the 3rd grade
- More likely to be retained in 1st grade
In contrast, students who were not chronically absent in either pre-k or kindergarten demonstrated higher social, emotional, and literacy skills.[i] The good news is that research shows a correlation between higher levels of school readiness scores and participation in early learning and preschool programs. Regular and high attendance in kindergarten is associated with reading at grade level. Data from the 2008 Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K) found that students who participate in pre-k and kindergarten perform significantly better in grade 3 reading skills. Additionally, BERC found that students who miss 2 to 4 days in September were 5 times more likely to be chronically absent than students who were absent fewer than 2 days. And finally, students who missed more than 4 days were over 16 times as likely to be chronically absent than students who were absent fewer than 2 days
Check out our priority projects to learn more about the work we’re doing in this area.
[i] Connolly, F. & Olson, L.S. (2014). Early Elementary Performance and Attendance in Baltimore City Schools’ Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. Baltimore BERC RSS, 1.