School Attendance Is Important at All Grade Levels Including the Early Years
Parents might think that high school students miss the most days of school. Research shows that elementary school children, particularly kindergarteners, have the highest rates of absenteeism.
When kids are absent for an average of just two days of school per month — even excused absences — it can have a negative impact. These absences can affect kids as early as kindergarten. Students who are chronically absent in kindergarten can have difficulty keeping up with their peers academically and tend to fall behind in reading. This is critical because research shows that when students are able to read on grade level by the end of third grade — the transition period where students go from learning to read to reading to learn — they are three to four times more likely to graduate high school and attend college, post-graduate, or professional development classes than their peers who struggle with reading.
The research also shows that when chronic absenteeism worsens every year from sixth to 12th grade, students are more likely to drop out of school. Dropouts face extremely bleak economic and social prospects.
How Can Schools and Parents Work Together to Improve School Attendance?
Here are some evidence-based strategies that work:
Campuses can use school-based mentors who track chronic absenteeism and work with parents on improving attendance. Classroom teachers can visit students’ homes and text parents about attendance. Additionally, sending mailings home with useful information about how attendance reduces chronic absenteeism and how to get students back on track.
By making school attendance a priority, families help their children get better grades, develop healthy life habits, and have a better chance of graduating from high school.
While some absences may be unavoidable, limiting your child’s absences puts him or her on a path to future success. If your child is missing school, figure out the reasons for the absences. Communicate with the teacher or school to take advantage of support services.
Paying Attention to Absences Early in the School Year
September is a particularly good time to focus on attendance. Research shows that students who miss two to four days in the first month of school are more likely to become chronically absent during the school year. By paying attention to absences early in the school year and early in a child’s academic career, we can turn around attendance and achievement.
District leaders hope community members, staff members, families, and students will recognize Attendance Awareness Month and pledge to reduce chronic absenteeism. By taking simple measures early on, everyone can help set every child on the path to success.
We appreciate your parental engagement and look forward to your continuous support in making school attendance a priority.
Please remember to contact your campus attendance clerk if your student misses a day of school. Thank you in advance for your partnership in helping us make Attendance Rock in Lancaster ISD!