Talking about truancy
The Open Society Institute will host the first of four forums on truancy in the Baltimore schools tomorrow morning.
According to an OSI press release, new state figures show that more than 9 percent of Baltimore public school students are "habitually truant," missing a fifth or more of the 2006-07 academic year. That figure is more than double the percentage for Prince George's County and more than quadruple the state average of 2.21 percent. In some Baltimore middle and high schools, OSI reports, the percentage of students who are chronically truant ranges from 10 to 40 percent.
OSI-Baltimore's director, Diana Morris, said the goal of the forums is "to bring together policy makers, educators, service providers, advocates, and funders to learn about chronic school absence and to discuss innovative strategies that will improve school attendance in Baltimore."
Here is a schedule of who's speaking when:
Tomorrow (Jan. 16): Ken Seeley, president and CEO of the National Center for School Engagement, will discuss how schools can reduce chronic absenteeism and help students become more engaged in school.
Feb. 22: Hedy Chang, a consultant conducting research for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, will talk about chronic absences among young children in Baltimore.
March 18: Kimberly Henry, assistant professor of psychology at Colorado State University, will address the link between truancy and adolescent drug use.
April 23: Daniel Losen, a senior education law and policy associate at the UCLA's Civil Rights Project, will discuss the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on truancy and drop out.
All forums will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at OSI, 201 N. Charles St., Suite 1300. Seating is limited, so call ahead (410-234-1091) if you'd like to attend.