Celebrate Attendance Awareness Month (Part 1 of 4)
Many of us probably understand that regular, consistent attendance in school is critical to a child’s learning and development. But how many of us truly appreciate the importance of attendance in determining the entire trajectory of a child’s future into adulthood?
Research has shown that, as early as pre-Kindergarten, chronic absence is a predictor that a student will continue to have poor attendance and poor academic performance in later grades. By the 6th grade, chronic absence is a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.
Last month, the Thriving Schools blog shared a wonderful interview with Hedy Chang, director of Attendance Works, on the importance of building a culture of attendance. Attendance Works is a national and state-level initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving success. The organization works to ensure that children are attending school more regularly by partnering with school and community leaders to track chronic absence data and intervene when attendance is a problem for children or particular schools.
This month, as students, staff and teachers head back to school, we are joining with Attendance Works in celebrating Attendance Awareness Month. And we hope you’ll do the same.
Attendance Awareness Month seeks “to mobilize schools and communities not only to promote the value of good attendance but also to take concrete steps toward reducing chronic absence.” Thanks to a new Baltimore study, we know that absences in the first month of school can predict chronic absence levels for the whole school year. Noticing and addressing absences before students miss so much school they fall behind academically is essential!
The folks at Attendance Works have put together a wonderfully robust website with posters, case-making materials and a whole collection of messaging tools geared towards different audiences to empower organizations and individuals to take the message of good attendance to the masses.
We invite you to visit the Attendance Awareness Month website and the Attendance Works website to learn more. Together, we can all ensure that children are present and accounted for in school and get the best head start on a vibrant and promising life ahead.
Stay tuned through the month of September for additional posts about Attendance Awareness Month with resources that parents, teachers and health care professionals can make use of.