As the school year begins for most local school-aged children this week, it would be a good idea to remind parents and students, how important it is to have good school attendance.
Allison Dunn, first-grade teacher at Notre Dame Elementary, worked last year getting her class to want to be at school as much as possible. Her efforts paid off, as her class had the best attendance every month of the school year 2018-2019.
At Notre Dame Elementary, the school implemented a class reward system for attendance for the 2018-2019 school year. All tardies, early dismissals, and absences counted against you and at the end of the month, the class with the least amount of absences would win a treat and a trophy to display in their classroom for the month. At the end of each month, the school would gather together and the principal would announce which class had the best attendance for that month.
”Every month my class won the best class attendance in the 2018-2019 school year! Most months we won by a landslide, but sometimes there was a close call. We would win little treats or extra recess, but we also got to have a big gold attendance trophy in our classroom to keep as the winners,” Dunn said. “The students loved this part and would always want to be the one to carry the trophy or hold it when I would send a picture to the parents thanking them for getting the students to school on time.”
Dunn was quick to give the parents of the class credit by saying. “All the props go to the parents, without their support in bringing their child to school on time, scheduling appointments for after school, not taking vacations during the school year, etc. we would not have won best class attendance,” Dunn said. “In turn, my classroom’s test scores grew tremendously, several students growing by two years, which goes to show that a student attending school on a regular basis will grow academically, socially, and emotionally.”
School attendance across the nation is something schools work hard on to help students to do better in school. Attendance Works is a national and state initiative that pushes for better policy and practice to improve school attendance. In an article they gave a list of ten important facts about School Attendance:
1. Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to miss nearly a month of school.
2. Over 8 million U.S. students miss nearly a month of school each year.
3. Absenteeism and its ill effects start early. One in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students are chronically absent.
4. Poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade or be held back.
5. By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.
6. Research shows that missing 10 percent of the school, or about 18 days in most school districts, negatively affects a student’s academic performance. That’s just two days a month and that’s known as chronic absence.
7. Students who live in communities with high levels of poverty are four times more likely to be chronically absent than others often for reasons beyond their control, such as unstable housing, unreliable transportation and a lack of access to health care.
8. When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating.
9. Attendance improves when schools engage students and parents in positive ways and when schools provide mentors for chronically absent students.
10. Most school districts and states don’t look at all the right data to improve school attendance. They track how many students show up every day and how many are skipping school without an excuse, but not how many are missing so many days in excused and unexcused absence that they are headed off track academically.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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