It may seem a bit like stating the obvious, but children who show up for school do a lot better than children who don’t.
The surprise is just how few absences it takes to make a difference. Missing just two days of school in a month is a warning sign for academic trouble. Do the math. Two days in a month translates into about 10 per cent of school days missed -- the equivalent of a little over 15 days a year.
Nationwide more than 6.5 million students – or 13% of all students – are chronically absent. More than half of those chronically absent students are in elementary or middle school.
Does your school have a chronic absence problem? You might be tempted to think not. According to a 2016 report, Preventing Missed Opportunity, "half of the nation's chronically absent students are concentrated in just 4 percent of its districts."
Savvy schools and communities treat school absences like a "bat signal." Missing school is a sign of serious trouble.
Complacency is a bad plan for this serious issue. The same report found that “Nine out of 10 U.S. school districts experience some level of chronic absenteeism." Missing school is a major warning signal for all kinds of trouble. Savvy schools and communities treat absences like a "bat signal". When schools effectively interrupt patterns of absenteeism, they may be able to detect, interrupt and prevent serious issues.
America's new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), elevates the critical link between chronic absence and student success. Among other things, it requires states to report chronic absence rates for their schools. In California, chronic absence is one of the key elements of the new accountability system that evaluates schools and districts.
The Ed100 Parent Leader Guide on Attendance and School Climate makes it easy for you to let parents at your school understand the importance of attendance, and do something about it.
It’s all here: Lessons, sample email invitations, discussion prompts, and resources including handouts and additional reading. Suggestions for Taking Action include:
The organization Attendance Works is strongly focused on the problems of absenteeism and what to do about it. Here's an example of the kind of resources they can provide:
How is your school improving attendance? Leave a comment below.
Search all lesson and blog content here.
Not a member? Join now.
or via email
Already Joined Ed100? Sign In.
or via email