HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Hartford Public Schools are joining forces with Attendance Works to combat the city's absentee issues.

School officials said the school attendance has reached critical levels.

One out of every four Hartford school district students suffers from chronic absenteeism, which means they miss at least 10 percent of school days.

"Any minute missed of instruction impacts achievement and so we cannot get into a situation in which from the get go, from the beginning of a child's experience, they are missing school," said Leslie Torres Rodriguez, superintendent of schools. 

The school district claims the problem is at its worst at the high school level when more than one third of students are chronically absent, but the issue strikes early. 

Nearly 30 percent of kindergarteners qualify as chronically absent. 

"The very first thing we have to do is shine a big light on our biggest challenges and this is one of them," said Luke Bronin, Hartford mayor. 

Attendance Works is a national organization that focuses on the issue of chronic absenteeism.

The focus will be on planning and implementing new procedures.

"This work is about the heart and the soul because I think we are all in this room because we know kids deserve a better future," said Hedy Chang, Attendance Works. 

They'll also spend time looking at why so many students are absent and how they can use available resources to get more students in class.

This issue is not a problem that is unique to Hartford. 

Nationwide, one in seven students qualifies for being chronically absent. 

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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