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A look at some of the big takeaways from the release of the redacted Mueller report. Also, on our Friday rundown: Iowa recovers from devastating floods and prepares for more. And, scallopers urged to minimize the threat to seagrass.

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Report: NC Schools Plagued by Chronic Absenteeism

Concern is growing about the issue of absenteeism in North Carolina schools and its impact on student performance. (CameliaTWU/flickr)
Concern is growing about the issue of absenteeism in North Carolina schools and its impact on student performance. (CameliaTWU/flickr)
September 28, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina schools are open for business, but getting students to attend on a regular basis isn't always easy.

According to a report released this week, at some schools as much as 26 percent of the student population is chronically absent. The term describes children who are out of school at least two days a month, which equates to about 10 percent of the school year.

Mandy Ableidinger, policy and practice leader at North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation and author of the report, "Attendance Counts," said absenteeism impacts the entire student body.

"The teachers are constantly playing catch-up to try and get the kids caught up who've been out,” Ableidinger said. "It slows down the whole process and research shows that it impacts everyone's learning when that many kids are out regularly."

The report recommended North Carolina establish a uniform definition of chronic absenteeism across districts. Ableidinger said she and other education leaders are concerned about absences that occur, whether they're because of an educational experience or illness.

More than 40 percent of North Carolina schools experience chronic absenteeism among more than 10 percent of their students. The goal is get the number below 5 percent.

Ableidinger said districts and individual schools can take steps to engage students and families to increase attendance.

"Teachers are showing that they're excited to for children to be in the school,” she said. "There are things that can be done on a personal relationship level to make that child and that family know that there is someone at school looking for them, who is going to be happy when they're there, and disappointed when they don't show up."

North Carolina does have a Compulsory Attendance Law that requires schools to maintain records of absences and have policies in place to handle students who exceed a limit of unexcused absences.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC