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Oceanside Unified School District finding way to combat student absenteeism

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Posted at 4:05 PM, Aug 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-15 20:26:57-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — As the school year kicks off, the Oceanside Unified School District has a plan in place to combat student absenteeism.

The district is dealing with a major problem with kids who are chronically absent from school, which means missing 18 or more days during the school year.

"What we have seen recently is that our numbers have jumped up to about 20 percent of our students being chronically absent," says OUSD Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Student Supports Jordy Sparks.

Doing the numbers, that is about three thousand of the sixteen thousand students in the district. Sparks says one reason for the high absentee rate can be linked to the pandemic.

"The pandemic caused students to be disconnected or disengaged from school. A lot of times, when we talk to our older students or high school students, they will communicate that they feel they have fallen too far behind to catch up. Many are worried about getting back into school."

To help fight absenteeism, the district has come up with a plan to help get students back in the classroom. This is done by talking to families on the telephone or hitting the streets and going door to door.

"You will see our folks walking out with backpacks of supplies and literature that we offer families. We convey to them the challenges and disadvantages of missing school. The idea is to communicate directly with the families and kids, that we are looking forward to seeing them, and talking about any challenges or concerns that we can help with before school starts"

Sparks says that while missing a day or two of school doesn't seem like much, throughout the school year, the numbers add up.

"Every time a student misses two days a month that equals about a month of school per year, which is about 90 hours of instruction. By the time that student is a twelfth grader, that's about a full year that they have missed."