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Chronic absenteeism drops at public schools

The percentage of Hawaii public school students absent for 15 days or more dropped sharply last school year.

The state Department of Education said Monday 11 percent of students missed at least 15 days of school during the 2013-2014 school year. That’s down from 18 percent the previous year.

The department says school attendance is one of the most powerful predictors of student success. It says curbing chronic absenteeism is a key focus for the public school system.

Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe commended schools for addressing transportation and health issues that may have kept students from attending, as well as intervening with at-risk students and improving school culture.

Kula Elementary on Maui showed the greatest improvement, followed by Kahaluu Elementary on Oahu and Haaheo Elementary on the Big Island.

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