Attendance matters as early as kindergarten. Studies show many children who miss too many days in kindergarten and first grade can struggle academically in later years. They often have trouble mastering reading by the end of third grade.
Even as children grow older and more independent, parents and families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day. It is essential that students understand why attendance is so important for success in school.
Parents should be aware of the information below to ensure that their student is not at risk:
- Students should miss no more than 9 days of school each year to stay engaged, successful and on track to graduation.
- Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
- By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
- By 9th grade, regular attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than test scores.
- Students can be considered chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.
- Attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college and keep a job. Students who attend school regularly are more likely to graduate and find good jobs. In fact, a high school graduate makes, on average, a million dollars more than a dropout over a lifetime.
What can you, as a parent, do to make sure that school is a priority?
- Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day, 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.
- 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 safe from bullies and other threats. Make sure he/she is not missing class because of behavioral issues and school discipline policies. If any of these are problems, work with your school.
- Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary.
- Make sure teachers know how to contact you.
- Encourage meaningful afterschool activities, including sports and clubs.
- Ask for help from school officials, afterschool programs, other parents or community agencies if you’re having trouble getting your child to school.
- Above all, set an example for your child.
Jim Hooper, Curriculum Director