Angela Bermudez, Alan Stoskopf, Lawrence Finnerty
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Department or Academic Unit
College of Professional Studies, Department of Education
education, absenteeism, dropout, School attendance, school organization, student motivation, truancy
Regular school attendance is a key contributor toward student success. Lack of attendance by its very nature removes the student from time on learning that is essential for academic success (Estridge, 2009). The reality is an absence, whether it is excused or not, means that a child is not in benefiting from educational opportunities on that day. Smith (2011) stresses that school districts have to work in the community and with families to promote public awareness and understanding of the problem, build high expectations and develop a culture of daily school attendance and educational attainment.
In instances when absenteeism becomes chronic, a myriad of student and family issues are usually involved, and a dysfunctional relationship between the student and school often exists (Rothman, 2001). Student disengagement from school has for more than a decade been reflected in the attendance, dropout and achievement (MCAS) data of the New Bedford Public Schools. New Bedford High School has one of the highest dropout rates in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and has not met the requirements for the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the attendance measure in more than ten years.
The purpose of this study was to give students, parents, teachers and administrators a voice to explain their perceptions and experiences to help explain the New Bedford Public Schools' chronic absenteeism, and their vision and ideas of how to correct it. The goal of this researcher was to conduct a case study of the New Bedford Public Schools' capacity to meet the needs of at-risk students and determine best practices for improving school attendance in order to ultimately reduce the number of dropouts in the district. It was through an exploration and utilization of the experiences and insight of students, staff, and parents that led to the development and expansion of the New Bedford Public School's Where Are YOU Headed? school attendance and graduation initiative.
Heather D. Larkin
Larkin, Heather D., "Improving school attendance in the New Bedford public schools" (2011). Education Doctoral Theses. Paper 14. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20002325
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