It doesn’t matter whether the absences are excused or unexcused — each missed day represents missed learning time. Missed days add up quickly: When a student misses as few as two days a month, that’s 10% of the school year. This increases the risk of academic and social-emotional struggles. (2 absences a month x by nine months = 18 days/10% of missed school days in a school year.)
Why Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Matter: Attendance has been proven to be one of the most powerful predictors of academic achievement and can have a dramatic impact on key milestones, including third grade reading, 9th grade achievement, high school graduation, and life success.
- Children chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
- By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school.
- By 9th grade good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test scores.
- Missing 10%, or about 18 days, of the school year can drastically affect a student’s academic success.
- Students can be chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.
- Attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college and keep a job.
- Talk about the importance of showing up to school everyday, make that the expectation.
- Set a regular bedtime and morning routine.
- Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
- Don’t let your child stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
- If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make them feel comfortable and excited about learning.
- Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
- Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
Students can go to school if:
- They have a runny nose or little cough, but no other symptoms.
- They haven’t taken any fever reducing medicine for 24 hours, and have been fever-free during that time.
- They haven’t thrown up or had diarrhea for 24 hours.
Keep students home if:
- They have a temperature higher than 100 degrees even after taking medicine.
- They are throwing up or have diarrhea.
- Their eyes are pink and crusty.
Call the doctor if:
- They have a temperature higher than 100 degrees for more than two days.
- They’ve been throwing up or have diarrhea for more than two days.
- They’ve had the sniffles for more than a week, and aren’t getting better.
These are common reasons students miss school. Visit 211info.org to learn about local community resources, or ask your school for suggestions.
- Health issues
- Acute or chronic illness
- Mental health services
- Social emotional supports
- Behavioral support
- Oral (mouth and teeth) health
We know wintery conditions can make getting your children to school challenging. Be prepared for those days when the roads are too slick for you to venture out. If school is open and conditions safe, we encourage students to attend in order to help ensure they don’t miss out on important learning opportunities. As always, we respect your decision to determine whether or not to keep your child home due to adverse winter conditions.
Develop a backup plan for getting your child to school in bad weather:
- If school buses can run safely, they will. Check the school district website for information regarding late start and/or school closures.
- Prearrange alternate transportation with family or friends who have an appropriate vehicle for managing winter driving conditions.
- Form a “walking school bus” with other families to help get students to school safely.
- Join other families in a snow shovel brigade to clear the sidewalks closest to the school.