Every Student Every Day: Attendance Counts

  • Every Student Every Day Title with image of four hands

    It’s a fact that students who attend school regularly learn more and are more successful in school than students who do not. Parents who make regular school attendance a priority also are helping their children learn to accept responsibility. And that’s an important lesson for a successful life.

    Attendance patterns are formed early in life. Children who develop good attendance habits in the early grades will be more likely to continue them throughout their school career. That’s important, because students who don't attend school miss out on carefully planned sequences of instruction. They miss out on active learning experiences and class participation. They miss out on the opportunity to ask questions. They are more likely to fall behind and, they are more likely to drop out.

    When students are absent from school, they

    • Miss valuable instruction time
    • Have a hard time catching up
    • And state funding is lost

    Ways to help your child succeed through attendance:

    • Send children to school on minimum days as well as regularly scheduled days
    • Plan vacations during non-school days
    • Schedule medical and dental appointments at the end of school or during non-school days

    Why should We Focus on Attendance?

    • Children can’t learn if they aren’t present in school, so attendance is a must
    • We can influence attendance and poor attendance can be prevented
    • Parents – especially in the early years – are best positioned to ensure children attend school and to build the expectation around attendance

    How is Attendance Focused on School?

    • Chronic absence in Kindergarten is associated with lower academic performance in 1st grade among all children and, for poor children, predicts the lowest levels of educational achievement at the end of fifth grade
    • By 6th grade, missing 20% (or two months of school) is a critical warning sign of school drop-out
    • By 9th grade, missing 20% of school can be a better predictor of drop-out than 8th grade test scores

    What Can Parents Do?

    • Help your child get into the habit and learn the value of regular routines
    • Teach your child that attending school is non- negotiable unless they are truly sick
    • Build relationships with other families and discuss how you can help each other out (e.g., drop off or pick up children, babysit, translation assistance) in times of need or emergencies
    • Identify non-academic activities (drama, art, music, etc.) that can help motivate your child’s interest in school and learning and seek out schools that can offer those experiences