Even Excused Absences Can Hurt Student Learning

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September is Attendance Awareness Month. Five tactics to improve school wide attendance and therefore student learning.

September is Attendance Awareness Month. Students who have good attendance do well in school and in their future workplace. Unfortunately, 1 in 10 students nationwide and 1 in 4 students in some cities are missing too much school. Missing 10 percent of the school year (just 2 to 3 days each month) is call chronic absenteeism. Chronic absences affect not only the students missing school, but the entire classroom because teachers must help with work missed while trying to instruct the whole class.Attendance Works, an initiative that promotes the important role of attendance to student success, is sharing four key strategies that schools, parents and communities across the nation can take to improve school attendance.

  1. Engage families and the entire community. When communities work together to address attendance issues, changes come faster. Schools can provide information to families about the importance of attendance, help families who are struggling to get their students to school and provide incentives to students attending school.
  2. Fix transportation. Something as simple as just getting to school can be a challenge for some students. Cities can improve bus systems. Schools can provide students with bus passes or schools buses. And communities can organize walking school buses.
  3. Address health needs. Health problems may keeps students at home. Schools and medical professionals can work together to connect families to needed information and health care.
  4. Track the right data. Schools may be missing data by only tracking average daily attendance or unexcused absences. But chronic absenteeism occurs when students miss school due to excused absences, unexcused absences and even suspensions. Attendance Works shares data tools on their website for any school to use.

We’d like to add one more tactic…

Create a school community where every child wants to be. When students want to come to school, they are more likely to be present daily and on time. We can create a positive school climate, especially at recess, where every child feels welcomed by including inclusive play and playfulness throughout the school day. Let’s make play a school norm!

How do you make attendance a priority in your community?

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