Improving Communities through Integrated Data Systems: Factors of School Absenteeism

Juvenile Welfare Board   (Pinellas County)

June 2013 - December 2015

In partnership with the Policy and Services Research and Data Center (PSRDC) at the University of South Florida, the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB) is researching the individual, home, family, school, and community-level factors that most impact school absenteeism in Pinellas County, Florida. Absenteeism in Pinellas impacts an estimated 14,000 students in grades K through 12. Individual, family, and home factors, such as medical illness, behavioral health problems, poverty, parental abuse or neglect, and poor property conditions can interact with more environmental factors, such as a community’s physical conditions or an unsupportive school setting, to adversely affect a child’s ability to attend school. Compared to those who attend school regularly, children who frequently miss school have more difficulty with school performance and academic achievement.

The study targets students who attended 8th grade in Pinellas County public schools during the 2011-12 school year. Student records from the Pinellas County School District, which go back to previous grade levels and include data on absenteeism, disciplinary referrals, and economic hardship, will be linked to PSRDC’s IDS that includes individual-level data for both students and parents on chronic health problems, behavioral health,  and substance abuse. Data on class size, suspensions, and school mobility from the Florida Department of Education will also be linked to the PSRDC IDS. JWB’s own IDS, which includes data on clients in JWB’s funded programs, juvenile justice data, school data, juvenile assessment data, etc., will be linked where possible to PSRDC. These various data sources will be examined in geographic context using data from, including demographics,  poverty rates, foreclosures rates, environmental contaminants, and infrastructure.

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