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Fighting absenteeism in New Britain Public Schools

NEW BRITAIN -- It's back to reality for students across the state. Schools are opening this week and next and among challenges for educations and administrators is getting kids to return to class day after day.

Chronic absenteeism can seriously disrupt a child's learning and drive down a school's test scores.

Reducing absences is a top priority in New Britain and they're making progress. Over the last 5 years, the district has significantly brought down the percentage of chronic absences.

In the early grades, when children are learning to read, the rate has declined from 24 percent to 12 percent in the first grade between 2011 and 2015.  Among fifth graders, absenses have dropped from 15 percent to ten percent over the same period.

The man behind those numbers is Joe Vaverchak, attendance supervisor for New Britain Schools.