A report co-authored by Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families praises the Marvell-Elaine Elementary School for its efforts to address chronic absenteeism.

The Marvell-Elaine Elementary School is one of three Arkansas elementary schools that are working to implement simple strategies to help identify and address chronic absenteeism. The other elementary schools are Monitor and Parson Hills in Northwest Arkansas. They have partnered with AR-GLR.

A report co-authored by Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families praises the Marvell-Elaine Elementary School for its efforts to address chronic absenteeism.

The Marvell-Elaine Elementary School is one of three Arkansas elementary schools that are working to implement simple strategies to help identify and address chronic absenteeism. The other elementary schools are Monitor and Parson Hills in Northwest Arkansas. They have partnered with AR-GLR.

The report reads, "These partner schools now serve as shining examples of how other schools can implement change."

According to the report, chronic absenteeism is defined as students missing 10 percent of the school year for any reason. It is considered a major problem in Arkansas schools. Time lost in the classroom has been determined to have a direct impact on students' academic progress, particularly reading efficiency.

AACF analyzed data obtained from the Arkansas Department of Education. It revealed that 12 percent of students in kindergarten through the third grade missed 18 or more days of school during the 2014-2015 school term.

Chronic absenteeism is the highest in kindergarten and first grade, when students are learning the building blocks of reading and setting the stage for future learning.

"Students who miss a month or more of school in the early grades are less likely to read on grade level by third grade," commented Angela Duran, AR-GLR director.

Ginny Blankenship, AACF's education policy director and editor of the report, states that chronic absenteeism has a significant impact on the state's educational outcomes.

"Chronically absent students struggle to catch up the rest of their years in school," she commented. "Other research has found that these students are more likely to drop out and less likely to pursue higher education and find good-paying jobs."

Blankenship also pointed out that while chronic absenteeism affects students of all income levels, the problem is even worse for children who grow up in poverty."

The report shows there were 169 students in the Marvell-Elaine Elementary School during the study and that 98 percent of those students were from low-income families.

"Lower-income working families often struggle to get their children to school, due to a lack of reliable transportation, adequate health care and many other basic needs that many of us take for granted," added Blankenship. "Our report highlights many simple, inexpensive things that schools can do that have proven to help keep more kids in school everyday, thriving and ready to learn."

Some of the reports key findings include:

• Chronic absence starts early.

•Chronic absence is worse among certain schools; in 2014-2015, 25 percent of chronically absent students were concentrated in 52 of the state's schools.

• Chronic absence is worse among third graders who are economically disadvantaged or have special needs.

• Hispanic students are the least likely to be chronically absent.

• Chronically absent third graders are less likely to read on grade level.