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Let's Talk: Attendance


Success starts with attendance! Having the best teachers or the most culturally relevant curriculum means nothing unless you have students who are present to receive it.

Chronic absenteeism is when a child is missing too much school. Experts have narrowed down the definition of chronic absenteeism and defined it as a student who misses 10 percent or more of the school year. This 10 percent or more is an accumulation of disciplinary actions (ex. suspensions), unexcused absences, and excused absences. Believe it or not, a student can fall into the category of being chronically absent by missing one day of school a week. Better yet, if a student misses two days of school a month, they would eventually fall into the category of being chronically absent. 

The principle is this: students cannot learn unless they are at school. It can be challenging to learn new subjects, but it is even more difficult to play catch up while learning new concepts and practices. Also, let's not forget that our students may have multiple classes, which adds another level of difficulty. 

There are various reasons why a student misses class. Data shows that the number one reason that a student may choose not to come to school is bullying. Bullying is a silent enemy that poisons our school climates. It gives a message to our students that they are not welcome or safe at our schools. The dynamics of bullying can happen on all levels-- staff to student or student to student--but the results are all the same.

As we work on getting our students to school (whether online or in-person), it would behoove us to start by asking questions to figure out why our students don't want to go to school? Once we discover and address the motives behind our students not attending school, then we can support changing the behavior. 

Here are some articles you may find interesting about attendance:

School Attendance, Truancy & Chronic Absenteeism: What Parents Need to Know
Chronic Absenteeism: What You Need to Know

Submitted by: John Cable