Truancy is a huge problem. Most children start skipping school in middle school or in their ninth grade year in high school. Once a kid establishes this pattern of behavior it is difficult for he or she to return to school and comply with attendance rules. Yet, many truants are willing to give school another shot.
It is a matter of finding an educational program that works for their individual needs. A number of these kids desire an educational experience that does not follow a traditional track. One educational option that seems to work best with truants is blended learning. This instructional approach allows students to work at their own pace and limit their time on a school campus. With this approach, students are given sets of online learning materials and tasks to complete during the week. Then, they come together in a small group once or twice a week to review, discuss, and put into practice what they’ve done. Many truants use blended learning as a way to accelerate their learning time and graduate early from high school.
Along with blended learning, it is important that truants receive counseling services. A counselor can help students deal with their underlying issues associated with their truancy. Once a child’s problem has been identified, the school staff can design an educational program that meets his or her needs.
Getting truants to stay in school and finish their education is pivotal to their future. Truants that do not complete high school are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors (some of which can land them in the juvenile justice system), develop negative social behaviors, and personal habits making it difficult for them to land a job. Thus, it’s crucial for counselors and school staff to identify and seek out these students before it is too late.
However, working with this group of kids is never easy. A majority of these students have a negative attitude towards education. Getting to them to “try” different educational approaches and trusting in the educational system can be challenging. It takes most kids a full year to fully trust their school staff and to buy-in to most truancy intervention strategies. There is no guarantee that any one program or strategy will work with this group of kids. Educators are encouraged to try many different strategies and to be patience.
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