One in three students in Salem-Keizer Public Schools is considered chronically absent

If a student misses just two days of school a month, he or she will have lost out on an entire month of instruction by the end of the school year. Continue that path through elementary, and by the end of middle school, that equates to an entire year. On Tuesday, July 31, community members from the cities of Salem and Keizer joined Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS) to address the ongoing issue of chronic absenteeism. The Oregon Department of Education defines chronic absenteeism as missing 10 percent or more school days, which equates to missing just two days of school per month.

This year, SKPS will engage community members in ongoing dialogue and collaboration to help students attend school each and every day in District 24J. In this first session, more than 50 members of the community engaged in situational analysis and discussed barriers and opportunities for success while determining how to create more wraparound services to support students and families.

“This is such a critical issue to discuss with our community, and it directly impacts the success of our children,” said Superintendent Christy Perry. “Students who regularly attend school are 172 percent more likely to graduate. We see chronic absenteeism from students across all spectrums – cultural norms and socioeconomic statuses play roles, but we also see students who are performing really well at school who might not see the connection between attendance and employability after graduation. It’s on all of us to get our children in school each day so they can be college and career ready upon graduating.”

Members of the community spoke about how to support students throughout the year and how to raise awareness about the importance of an active K-12 education. The district’s equity lens played a key role in the development of campaign strategies and guided conversation to address barriers that impact student attendance rates.

For more information on how to support the campaign, please contact Community Relations and Communications at (503) 399-3038 or by emailing