Let's Break It Down
This means that 12,797 students missed more than 10% of their school year in 2015-16.
Missing more than 10% of a school year, or 18 days per year, is a national benchmark that schools across the country use to understand which students are chronically absent. Douglas and Sarpy County schools use a threshold of 20 days. Locally, 1,197 students (8%) in Pottawattamie County, 10,219 (11%) students in Douglas, and 1,381 (5%) students in Sarpy County missed at least 10% of the years’ school days.
Tracking the number of absences is a clear metric, but the reasons for absences can be more difficult to understand. Individual schools vary both in how they track reasons for student absences, and how they input this information into school databases. Students may be absent due to illness or because a parent faces challenges in getting them to school as a result of transportation or a work schedule. Other absences are a result of students struggling with physical or mental health needs.
Pottawattamie County schools have only recently started measuring student attendance during the 2015-2016 school year. They have historically measured this by Average Daily Attendance (ADA), determining which percentage of students were in school every day, instead of how many days of school a student was missing. The initial data they have collected is still very preliminary.