September is Attendance Awareness Month – an opportunity to bring attention to and support building a habit of good attendance. St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) Superintendent E. Wayne Gent emphasized the importance for all students to attend school regularly. “Regular attendance is vital for our students’ success. Chronic absenteeism negatively impacts student achievement and graduation rates. Our goal is to give every student the best opportunity for success in life, so let’s help create habits of positive attendance early in their academic careers.”
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. However, when students miss too much school— regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically. A student is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent—which means missing 18 or more days over the course of an entire school year. 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 just two days every month!!
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.