Acute Illness is the Prominent Reason why Students Miss School in Central Texas

A Ground-breaking Study by E3 Alliance and Children’s Optimal Health Reveals Important Findings on Why Kids Miss School
empty desk in classroom imageA new study released today by E3 Alliance and Children’s Optimal Health indicate that acute or chronic illness, skipping and having a family emergency are the top reasons Central Texas students miss school. The study took place at nine schools across two central Texas school districts where parents provided detailed information about the reasons for student absences over eight weeks. The schools were chosen for the study because they statistically represent the demographics and geography of the Central Texas student population.

There were 16,800 absences at the schools, of which, nearly half were due to acute illness. The most common other reasons for absences were attending a routine dental or preventative medical appointment, or traveling. E3 Alliance, in partnership with Children’s Optimal Health conducted the study to answer critical community health questions and integrate with other student attendance efforts. St. David’s Foundation and Central Health provided funding for the study.

“This study not only provides actionable information for particular neighborhoods and the Central Texas region as a whole, but is also a seminal pilot study for similar efforts across the country,” said Susan Dawson, E3 Alliance president and executive director.

A summary of the findings was presented at the Missing School Matters Attendance Summit on June 11th by Dr. Amy Wiseman, E3 Alliance Director of Research Studies and Mohan Rao, Spatial Data Analyst at Children’s Optimal Health.

More than 200 area education, community and business leaders in attendance also learned that at-risk students have more than their share of absences for many reasons.

At-Risk Students Have More than Their Share of Absences for Many Reasons

“An interesting side effect of our research came about at one middle school where absences actually declined during the course of our study,” said Dr. Wiseman. “It may be that the support we provided district attendance personnel and their interaction with parents may have in itself, had a positive effect on the importance of attendance.”

Since the spring of 2011, E3 Alliance has collected and analyzed ground-breaking data about student attendance in Central Texas and choreographed a host of community, media, and education partners to act on improving student attendance.  A major region-wide campaign: Missing School Matters, supported by dozens of community and business partners, was launched in September 2012. A detailed presentation of the study can be found in the research section on the front page of E3 Alliance website at

About E3 Alliance
E3 Alliance is a regional, data-driven education collaborative based in Austin, Texas. We are building the strongest educational pipeline in the country to drive regional economic prosperity. Founded in 2006, E3 Alliance acts as a catalyst for change, working to break-down barriers and build better alignment across the education continuum. Our name tells our story: Education Equals Economics. We believe that only through greater educational achievement for current and future generations of children, can Central Texas realize economic prosperity and a high quality of life for our community. Such achievement requires systemic change from cradle to career, and that is our commitment to our community.

About Children’s Optimal Health
Children’s Optimal Health enables communities through GIS mapping to visualize the health of their neighborhoods, identify assets and needs, and unearth opportunities for collaborative change to improve operations, inform policy, encourage research and mobilize the community.

Leave A Comment...