TALKMI I The ALK Mindfulness Initiative



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Chronic Absenteeism


Chronic Absenteeism


      The Connecticut State Department of Education defines chronic absenteeism as, missing 10% or greater of the total number of days enrolled during the school year for any reason. It includes both excused, unexcused, out-of-school suspensions and in-school suspensions that last more than one-half of the school day.8 And, according to the New Haven Independent, chronic absenteeism was at 19.9% for the 2017 – 2018 school year, 19.3% for the 2018 – 2019 school year, 21.2% for the 2019 – 2020 school year, 34.4% for the 2020 – 2021 school year and a shockingly high 58.1% for the 2021 – 2022 school year.9 As sobering as the last statistic is, the equally sobering issue is learning the whereabouts of our children and why so many are chronically absent.


How Does TALKMI Help?


     TALKMI addresses chronic absenteeism by providing students with the tools to focus on their present circumstances, to stay in the moment and to become more aware of their own emotions and behaviors. This includes helping students to recognize when they are feeling overwhelmed or distracted and take appropriate steps to address these feelings without missing school. TALKMI also provides mindfulness activities that can help students to recognize and manage their stress and anxiety levels, to help reduce the likelihood of absenteeism. Some of the specific activities include:

– Developing school-wide mindfulness programs: helps to create a culture of awareness and acceptance of mental health issues among students and staff.

– Connecting students to mental health resources: includes counseling, therapy and support groups that provide students with the resources that they need to address mental health issues and manage their stress.

– Strengthening relationships between students and teachers: helps to create a sense of trust and safety that can reduce the likelihood of absenteeism due to school-related or personal issues.

– Creating a positive school environment: a welcoming and supportive school can help to reduce the likelihood of absenteeism because students feel connected and valued.

– Implementing academic supports: providing tutoring and extra help can contribute to reducing the likelihood of absenteeism because students feel less overwhelmed and experience higher levels of agency in the classroom.

"TALKMI addresses chronic absenteeism by providing students with the tools to focus on their present circumstances"