San Francisco schools report fewer absences

By: Amy Crawford

AP file photo
For the first three months of the current school year, the
San Francisco Unified School District reported a drop in
chronic absenteeism in nearly every grade.
Chronic absenteeism is down among San Francisco public school students, according to recently compiled school district records.

For the first three months of the current school year, the district reported a drop of two percentage points or more in nearly every grade since the 2010-11 school year. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing at least 10 percent of school days.

Spokeswoman Gentle Blythe attributed the gains to a new early warning system and automatic parental notification. The district has paid special attention to ninth grade, which has a chronic absenteeism rate of 9 percent this year, compared to more than 15 percent two years ago.

This year, the district made the most progress in getting kindergartners to school. Just under 9 percent have been chronically absent this year, compared with 13 percent last year.

The highest rate of absenteeism, 11 percent, was in 10th grade, but that figure was nearly 13 percent last year.

Absenteeism is a risk factor for dropping out of high school, Blythe said, and the state also uses attendance figures to calculate funding

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