Chronic absenteeism (students with 15+ absences) has been a focus for the schools along the Leeward Coast. The percentage of chronic absenteeism at school along the Leeward Coast has historically been above the State level percentages.
Based on the STRIVE HI data, Leihoku Elementary has had an increase in chronic absentee percentage from the 2013-2014 school year.
STRIVE HI Data:
Attending school on a regular basis has been shown to have positive impacts on academic achievement and development of self and other skills to be successful later in life. Therefore, the Counseling Department at Leihoku Elementary recognizes decreasing chronic absenteeism as a targeted goal.
During the 2015-2016 school year, Leihoku Elementary had a new School Social Worker (SSW) who came in weekly to discuss attendance cases. In addition, the SSW met with families and provided them with interventions to prevent a high number of absences. However, the SSW assisted with the high end cases where the students were either approaching 15 absences or had already exceeded 15 absences. For the 2017-2018 school year, the SSW and the Counselors have been closely monitoring 5 cases from the 2016-2017 school year. The SSW and Counselors have been in contact with these families from the start of the school in hopes of improving these students’ attendance rates. In addition, the Counselors have been checking in with these students daily.
In addition to working closely with the SSW, Na Pueo, an attendance club continues to work with 5th and 6th students who have 15 or more absences. During the 2016-2017 school year, there was a total fifteen 5th and 6th grade students in the club. Of those fifteen students, 8 had lower than 15 absences. However, all fifteen students’ attendance had improved from the previous school year. 6 of the 15 students are still in the Na Pueo club, with 5 additional students to the club. During the 2016-2017 school year, the club met weekly. During the weekly sessions, the students made attendance goals for the school year and planned a service learning project for the school. During the first semester, the club researched and planned a canned good drive for the school. The donations were taken to the Hawaii Food Bank. During the second semester, the students engaged in activities as an incentive during the meetings. The club continues to work closely with these students weekly.
Based on the perception survey, 10 out of 15 students met their attendance goal for the 2016-2017 school year. Also, 10 out of 15 students had a plan to meet their goal. Therefore, for the 2017-2018 school year, the students not only created an annual attendance goal, but was also broken down quarterly during a one on one session with the Counselor. The students also conferenced with the Counselor following an absence to discuss the obstacles from coming to school and created plan to continually improve their attendance. Students were also given an incentive for having perfect attendance weekly. For the 2017-2018 school year, the students in the Na Pueo club will be held more accountable for their attendance by checking in with an advisor daily. The goal for the 2017-2018 school year, is for the students to discover their interests and begin to set career goals for the first semester and a student led service learning project during the second semester.
In addition to working with the SSW and the implementation of the Na Pueo club, Leihoku Elementary now has an Attendance Clerk. The Attendance Clerk meets with the SSS and the Counselors weekly. The Attendance Clerk also calls and meets with parents regarding attendance prior to students having 5 absences and continually touch basis with the families regarding student attendance. The Attendance Clerk also conferences with students following an absence.