Dear Parents and Guardians,
September is Attendance Awareness Month. There are a variety of things that parents can do to help their children develop good attendance habits. Absences can add up quickly. We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school— regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically.
Our district attendance policy identifies concern for unexcused absences when there are 3 or more consecutive absences without parent contact, patterns of absenteeism, 5 or more absences in the first marking period, or 10 or more absences during the school year. Tardiness is also identified as a serious concern after 10 late arrivals. All work that is missed due to absences is expected to be completed. The complete attendance policy can be found on our district websites.
- 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.
Clearly going to school regularly matters!
We don’t want your child 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 to help support regular attendance:
- Make sure your children keep a regular bedtime and establish a morning routine.
- Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
- Ensure your children go to school every day unless they are truly sick
- Avoid scheduling vacations or doctor’s appointments when school is in session.
- Talk to teachers and counselors for advice if your children feel anxious about going to school.
- Develop back up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, neighbor, or another parent to take your child to school.
Lastly, a good night’s sleep goes a long way in your child’s ability to learn new information, perform on tests to demonstrate past learning, and have good physical and emotional health. In the elementary school years, the recommendation is for 10-11 hours of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation also notes that “watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours.” Keeping bedtimes on non-school nights consistent (not later than one hour past school night bedtime) can help considerably.
We look forward to a year of good health, good attendance, good night’s sleep, great kindness and great learning!
W.T.P.S. Elementary School Counselors