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MDE releases 2021-22 chronic absenteeism report of schools, districts

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has released the most recent school and district chronic absence data, which shows that 28% of Mississippi students were absent 18 days or more during the 2021-22 school year.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10% (18 days) of the school year for any reason, which includes excused and unexcused absences and suspensions. Chronic absence differs from Average Daily Attendance (ADA), which is the average number of enrolled students who attend school each day. A school’s ADA often masks issues surrounding the number of students who are chronically absent.

During the 2021-22 school year, 128,275 Mississippi public school students were chronically absent, which is an increase of 33,186 students from 2020-21. The rates increased steadily for all K-12 grades in 2021-22. The chronic absenteeism rate in K-5 elementary schools was highest for kindergarten at 28.4%. The chronic absenteeism rate in middle school was highest in grade 8 at 29.6% and highest in high school in grade 12 at 45.3%.

MDE began reporting chronic absence data in 2016, and the 28% overall rate is the highest to date. While it is important to identify and mitigate all factors that led to excessive absences, the COVID-19 pandemic did contribute to the increased statewide and national rates.

Chronically absent students are more likely to fall behind academically and less likely to graduate from high school. Addressing chronic absenteeism and developing good attendance habits will take the collective effort of schools, attendance officers, families and communities.

The MDE will relaunch a statewide attendance awareness campaign in June. The campaign is designed to challenge students and school districts to reduce individual absences to no more than five absences in a school year and was initially launched in September 2018. Mississippi’s campaign is part of a national movement to reduce chronic absenteeism. Before the pandemic, Mississippi’s chronic absenteeism rate fell to 13% in 2018-19.

“Higher than normal chronic absenteeism numbers are not unique to Mississippi following the pandemic,” said Dr. Robert Taylor, state superintendent of education. “Now more than ever, it is imperative that MDE and all educational stakeholders develop and implement strategies to get students back in school and on track to achieve academic and career success.”

To see Mississippi’s 2021-22 chronic absenteeism report, which includes the highest and lowest rates among schools and districts, go to

Find all MDE news releases at is an online news source serving Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.

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Patrice is married to Greg Boykin and they have two sons, Bradley & Alex Boykin. Patrice is a lifetime resident of Simpson County. Patrice retired after 25 years in the Insurance industry where 23 of those years were with State Farm Insurance in Magee. She is very active in the community and has served in several leadership roles. Patrice has been a Secretary for the Magee Touchdown Club for 19 years and President of the MS Scholars of Simpson County. Patrice was a member of the Magee Adopt A School Program. She was elected to a term on the Simpson County School Board. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Magee Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the Keep Magee Beautiful Committee and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Simpson County Technical Center. Patrice is a member of the Simpson County Republican Executive Committee. Multiple times, Patrice was named Parent of the Year for Magee Schools as well as District Parent of the Year for the Simpson County School District. Patrice & her family are members of New Hope Baptist Church.


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