September is Attendance Awareness Month. There are a variety of things that parents can do to help their children develop good attendance habits. We realize that some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. However, when students miss too much school— regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically.
Our district attendance policy outlines methods for identifying students with chronic absences or tardiness. According to the policy, unexcused absences become a concern when there are three or more consecutive absences without parent contact, patterns of absenteeism, five or more absences in the first marking period, or ten or more absences during the school year. Tardiness is also identified as a serious concern after ten late arrivals. The policy also states that all work that is missed due to an absence 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!
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.
School attendance can also be improved by developing good sleep habits. When students are well rested they have the 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, and great learning!