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Missing School Matters
Missing School Matters
Matt Nelson Assistant Superintendent
Sunday, September 23, 2018

Pledge to Make Improved Attendance a
Top Priority for this School Year

Submitted by Matt Nelson, Assistant Superintendent
September is attendance awareness month.  Our goal this year is to ensure that every student attends school regularly. Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life. Some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, when students miss too much school - regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically.  Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent.  Research shows:   

  • Children chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. 
  • By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school. 
  • By 9th grade good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test scores.   

Absences can add up quickly.  A child is chronically absent if he or she misses 18 or more days over the course of an entire school year which is just two days every month!  We all want the best for our children, including success in school and a career or college education.  Reducing chronic absence can help close achievement gaps.  If too many students are chronically absent, it impacts instruction for other students and makes it harder for students to learn and teachers to teach.  Absences represent lost opportunities to learn in the classroom. 
We don’t want our children to fall behind in school and get discouraged.  Please ensure that your child attends school every day and arrives on time.   Here are a few practical tips used with permission from Attendance Works to help support regular attendance:

Make school attendance a priority

  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school everyday, make that the expectation.
  • Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.  Avoid extended trips when school is in session.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless truly sick. Complaints of headaches or stomach aches may be signs of anxiety.  

Help your child stay engaged.

  • Find out if your child feels engaged by his classes and feels comfortable and safe.
  • Make sure he/she is not missing class because of behavioral issues  and school discipline policies.
  • Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if  necessary. Make sure teachers know how to contact you.
  • Stay on top of your child’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping  school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.
  • Encourage meaningful after school activities, including sports and clubs.  

Communicate with the school

  • Know the school’s attendance policy
  • Talk to teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to  something going on at school.
  • Check on your child’s attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.
  • Ask for help from school officials, after school programs, other parents or  community agencies if you’re having trouble getting your child to school. 

Please join us in our effort to make every day count.  Let us know how we can best support you and your children so that they can show up for school on time every day.   We want your child to be successful in school! If you have any questions or need more information please contact your child’s school.