More than one in 10 students nationwide are chronically absent, meaning they miss 10 percent or more of the school days in a year. The problem spans across grade levels, starting as early as preschool. Missing school often affects standardized test score performance, thus affecting students’ chances at college admission. Healthy Schools Campaign believes that every child should have access to healthy school environments, so that they can learn and thrive. That starts with attendance.
Attendance is critical to a student’s academic success, as well as to their overall health and wellbeing. Chronic absence is a huge problem that hasn’t received the attention it deserves, and has the capability to keep students from learning and performing to the best of their ability.
This September, we’ll again be partnering with Attendance Works on the fourth annual Attendance Awareness Month. Attendance Awareness Month is a national event that recognizes the connection between school attendance and academic achievement and brings together organizations and individuals from across the country. Attendance Works is one of the leading voices on chronic absenteeism and a key partner in our work to make the connection between student health and learning.
But you don’t have to wait until September to get started. Everyone can play a role in reducing chronic absenteeism. Attendance Works has a few ways to start the conversation of attendance:
- Ensure getting students to school on time is a top priority
- Reach out to schools and community agencies about barriers that keep kids from school
- Educate other parents on the effects of chronic absenteeism
- Monitor the number of days your child has missed
- Emphasize the importance of attendance on the first day of school
- Use parent-teacher conferences to educate parents on absenteeism
- Promote the positivity of attendance
- Demonstrate your commitment to improving attendance by joining the Superintendents Call to Action
- Lead by example, and make attendance a top priority
- Monitor data and use it to create awareness about attendance
- Reach out to the community leaders to help with attendance
Last year, in partnership with Attendance Works, we released the Mapping the Early Attendance Gap: Charting a Course for Student Success report. Earlier this summer, we released a Chronic Absenteeism toolkit. This document focuses on preparing educators—particularly school district decision-makers—with knowledge and practical guidance for creating meaningful change to address health-related chronic absenteeism.
Healthy Schools Campaign invites you to partake in one activity during Attendance Awareness month because reducing chronic absenteeism promotes a healthy school environment, and closes the achievement gap. The earlier we intervene as a community, the higher the chances for student’s success inside and outside of the classroom.