TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - For some students in the Tucson Unified school District the holiday months, from November to January, can mean lots of food, gifts, and celebrating. But for others the holidays can mean less time spent in the classroom.
The district’s coordinator of the Dropout Prevention Program, Debbie Ferryman, says there are two main reasons for this: expiring 6-month leases and an influx of seasonal job opportunities.
“The mobility rate in TUSD is high in a lot of schools, and so you think about the 6-month lease, you know, it’s June to December," Ferryman said. "So in January they gotta move. So their attendance hits down.”
Ferryman says that high mobility rate tends to affect the attendance of younger students more. When looking at the attendance percentages from this time last school year that makes sense. Elementary schools, K-8 schools, and middle schools all see decreases in attendance in December with middle schools in TUSD seeing a big decrease from the start of the school year in August to December of that same school year.
As for the effect seasonal jobs have on a student’s attendance, Ferryman says it’s more common to see it among older students; many of whom support themselves because they’re homeless or they’re helping to support their families.
"A lot of these kids don’t have a choice. ... They need to go out and earn an income because it’s put with the family income to make the family work,” she said.