LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A new tool rolled out on Tuesday to combat the high number of students skipping class in the Las Vegas area.
Community leaders unveiled the Southern Nevada Family Engagement Center at a time when the Clark County School District has labeled chronic absenteeism a problem.
The website at Nvfamily.org is aimed at giving parents the resources to get their children back in class, an issue that was exacerbated after the pandemic.
“There are very little consequences for families whose students miss a lot of school,” Kirsten Searer, president of the Public Education Foundation, said. “From what I understand, there are some methods in the Nevada revised statute that parents could be sent to court but that is rarely enforced.”
The Public Education Foundation is one of 17 partners that came together to launch the engagement center as a response to “the growing concern of chronic absenteeism.”
Searer said the point of the community-wide effort is to change the narrative on chronic absenteeism.
“Instead of just basically making an empty threat against them, we’re saying, we’re going to help you find some ways that you can address this issue,” Searer said.
Nvfamily.org has a breakdown of what’s considered chronically absent, which is when a student misses more than 10 percent of their school days. That number has doubled since the pandemic.
In some CCSD high schools during the 2022-2023 school year, three in five kids were considered chronically absent.
“When our students do not feel safe, that can become a reason for them not wanting to get out of bed,” Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert said.
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara previously told 8 News Now in August the district was going to crack down.
“If they miss more than 10 days a semester, they’re not going to get credit. That’s 20 days of absences. Those are things that we’re going to be implementing,” Dr. Jara said on Aug. 3.
At a school board meeting on Nov. 9, administrators shared the fruits of their labor. Data showed an improvement in chronic absenteeism for the first quarter of the 2023-2024 school year. However, they expressed concern over parental accountability.
“Our principals have indicated that there are no teeth at the end as far as consequences for parents that may be not having their kids go to school frankly,” Dr. Mike Barton, CCSD’s Chief of College, Career, and Equity Officer, told members of CCSD’s board of trustees.
CCSD administrators have also been making monthly home visits this year to students who are chronically absent as part of the district’s Every Day Matters campaign.