National Attendance Awareness Month: start now and keep celebrating school attendance all year long

An overwhelmingly majority (86 percent) of parents want their kids to achieve in school, but almost half don’t realize the impact of too many absences on their child’s education according to a study by the U.S. Department of Education and the Ad Council.

Children miss opportunities to learn when they are absent – opportunities that can’t always be replaced by homework or makeup assignments. Learning is interactive with hands-on activities so when a student is absent they miss that chance to be actively involved in their learning community.

What You Can Do:
Reaching out to students and families is ongoing process, not a one-time event.

Check in with students and families
Let families know that if their student is having trouble getting to school or feeling nervous about school, please talk to the classroom teacher, nurse, social worker, school counselor or principal.  Let families and students know you want to partner with them to figure out how best to support their child’s learning.

Support students and families to establish a routine
Transitioning from summer schedules to school schedules can be challenging for elementary, middle and high school students, especially if the time school begins has changed. Setting bedtime or morning routines can help a family adjust to the new schedule.

Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day
Remind families about the school schedule and calendar so they can avoid scheduling vacations or doctor’s appointments when school is in session.

Start a Campaign to Strive for 5
Start the year with a slogan to Strive for 5. A community-wide approach was an effective way to reduce absenteeism in Grand Rapids, Michigan when they initiated the Strive for under 5 campaign along with monitoring attendance data and intervention strategies.

  • For Students: Strive for under 5 absences all year
  • For Families: Strive to volunteer at school at least 5 times

Share these 4 things to do the night before to help make the morning rush easier

  1. Set school clothes out. Taking the time to review the forecast and planning clothes the night before will save time and valuable energy.
  2.  Pack your backpack. Before putting the kids to bed, make sure homework, shoes for gym class, library books and snacks are placed in their backpack for the next day.
  3. Place coat, backpack and instruments by the front door. Placing your child’s backpack, coat, musical instrument or whatever is needed for school, by the front door will help make it easier and faster to leave the house in case you are running late.
  4. Agree no television or video games until the morning routine is done. One of the most common reasons students are “a few minutes late” to school is because they would not turn off their video game or television in the morning. Try this: Before the television can be turned on, kids should be dressed, fed, teeth brushed and backpack loaded by the door. Set a timer to make sure the television is off at least 5 minutes before you need to leave for school.

Let’s work together as a community – school and business leaders, parents, students, teachers, neighbors – to get all kids to school – on time, every day.