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Celebrating Attendance Awareness Month with Parents and Families

Catherine is a senior communications professional helping social change organizations tell their story in powerful ways. She has expertise in public health, environmental stewardship, philanthropy and education. Follow her on Twitter @CatBrozena

Bringing Attendance Home  (Part 2 of 4)

September is Attendance Awareness Month, and as Thriving Schools continues our efforts to lift up of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving success, we wanted to highlight how parents and schools can work together to reduce chronic absenteeism.

Research has shown the positive relationship between parent involvement and a child’s attendance in school. Parents, grandparents and other adult guardians often serve as advocates in creating the conditions for a better life for their children. They know that a solid education and graduation from high school are key predictors of success for young people.

Parents also know the very real challenges of getting children to school. Young children are especially dependent upon parents and older adults to help them get to school. So it’s vital for parents to be engaged from the very start in understanding the critical role they play in helping children set good patterns of attendance.

Attendance Works, a national and state-level initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving success, offers a number of helpful resources for engaging parents and families, including a toolkit with ideas and activities that can help frame the issues for parents.

What can parents do? Put simply, parents can:

  • Make getting students to school on time every day a top priority
  • Monitor your child’s attendance. Remember just 2 absences each month can put your child off track academically
  • Develop back up plans for getting to school if something comes up
  • Avoid medical appointments and vacations when school is in session
  • Don’t permit missing school unless your child is truly sick
  • Let the school know if you are facing a major barrier to attendance so they can offer available supports and resources
  • Talk about the importance of attendance for success in school and life

To encourage parents and families to work together on tracking and setting attendance goals, Attendance Works also provides a helpful Student Attendance Success Plan with strategies to help reduce absenteeism.

Additionally, Attendance Works recently released a new video, “Bringing Attendance Home,” that features parents talking to other parents about reducing absenteeism.

Bringing Attendance Home: Parent Video from Rachel Auerbach on Vimeo.

The video offers tips for parents and schools to improve student attendance.  You can download the video and a guide and PowerPoint for leading discussions here.

For additional tools and resources to celebrate Attendance Awareness Month, visit the Attendance Awareness Month website and the Attendance Works website.

Read Part 1 –  Tell Them That Attendance Counts

Read Part 3 – Celebrating Attendance Awareness Month with Teachers & Schools

Read Part 4 – Celebrating Attendance Awareness Month with Health Care Providers

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