As students are returning to classrooms, it is appropriate that September marks “Attendance Awareness Month.” The goal is to raise awareness around the importance of students attending school daily and how it connects to academic achievement. South Dakota's Governor, Dennis Daugaard is also making school attendance a priority this month as he addressed this topic in his monthly column in an article entitled "Make School Attendance a Priority."
According to several studies, missing several days of school significantly reduces the likelihood that students will graduate from high school. While reading about this topic, I came across the following research on why attendance matters.
- Start Strong—Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict frequent absences later in the school year. Nearly half of all students that missed more than two days of school in September went on to miss almost a month of school.
- Chronic Absences—An estimated 5 to 7.5 million students in the United States miss almost a month of school every year. This adds up to over a year missed by the time of graduation. (Missing just 2 days per month during the school year adds up to 18 days or 3.5 weeks over the course of a school year.)
- Early Absences Lead to Attendance Issues in Later Grades—Absenteeism starts early. One in 10 kindergarteners and first graders are considered to be “chronically absent.”
- Chronic Absence = Missing two or ore days per month—Research shows students who miss 10 percent of school, or two days per month, show negative academic progress.
- Third Grade Reading Level—Poor attendance can keep children from reading proficiently by the end of third grade, which is shown to negatively affect their chances of graduating on time.
- Dropout Indicator—By sixth grade, a chronically absent student is shown to have a significantly higher chance of dropping out of high school.
- Excused Absences Hurt Too—Excused absences are just as negative as unexcused ones. Suspensions add additional missed time in the classroom, which in turn increases dropout risk.
- Every Minute Matters—If a student is 10 minutes late to school each day, this adds up to missing more than 33 hours of class time A student with a 90 percent attendance average for kindergarten through 12th grade will miss over a year of accumulated time in the classroom.
We do understand that there are reasons why students need to miss school but we ask that parents work with us to keep these absences down to as few as possible. If you child is going to be absent and you know ahead of time please let the school know so that the student can get work ahead of time. If an absence is unplanned then please notify the school office between 8:00 and 9:00 AM on the day of the absence.