DISSERTATION PROPOSAL ANNOUNCEMENT Ed.D. Program: John Bird “Impact of Student-Mentor Text Messaging on Chronic Absenteeism”

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Gottfried and Hutt (2019) found that students in United States schools miss an aggregate of 150-225 million school days annually. This problem does not discriminate by race, sex, or social demographic, as 94% of schools in the US had at least one chronically absent student in the 2015-2016 school year. This statistic has only worsened as schools return from the pandemic. Chronic absenteeism, defined as missing 10% of possible school days over the course of an academic year, has become a major impediment to the functioning of all stakeholders in a school. With a prevalence of chronic absenteeism occurring in low-income and minority-populated areas, finding solutions has become a matter of social equity as well as effective schooling. This mixed-methods study aims to evaluate the efficacy of a student-teacher text message program for chronically absent students at a New Jersey High School. Thirty students’ statistical data will be quantitively studied to determine the effectiveness of the program on increasing days in school for previously chronically absent students. This will be followed by a qualitative study of the ten teachers who volunteered to be mentors in the program. Teachers will be interviewed to understand their view of the program’s effectiveness in alleviating student absenteeism. Teachers will also be asked if the program gave them a better understanding of the chronic absenteeism of their students.

Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory will be used as the conceptual framework to understand why students are chronically absent and how this reasoning can be applied to create a program that will improve student attendance.

To access the Zoom link required to attend, please contact academic.services@gse.rutgers.edu.