PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A new attendance policy is expected to be voted on at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Providence School Board.

According to the district, the policy highlights research that shows chronic absenteeism negatively impacts literacy development. It also shows students who aren’t proficient readers by third grade are four times more likely to drop out.

The district hopes the implementation of new programs and practices will reduce absences. One goal is to increase communication with parents about attendance through notifications, which will come in three categories:

  1. Annual Notification: Sent at the beginning of the school year to lay out the attendance policy expectations for parents
  2. At-Risk Notification: Sent when a student is at risk of chronic absenteeism — missing 10% of the school year or more
  3. Support Notification: Sent when a child is in need of support and these outreach efforts must be documented

The policy wants to boost student outreach, claiming studies show that students who have a mentor-like relationship with someone other than family members can keep them engaged at school and improve behavior.

Conversely, the policy also has negative reinforcements. If a student is demonstrating a pattern of unexcused absences, they may lose the privilege to attend extracurricular activities.

The Council on Elementary and Secondary Education heard an attendance update from Superintendent Dr. Javier Montañez, which revealed attendance was up the last school year compared to the previous year.

The district has also hired a director of attendance in its quest to keep students in the classroom.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m.