Attendance research is discovering what schools have known all along: Our teachers can teach our children….if the children show up. Turns out, attendance is a significant predictor of student performance. Kids who are absent early and often are at greater risk for dropping out of school as well as a whole host of economic, marital, social, and psychiatric problems in adulthood. What’s more, researchers are finding that even students with good attendance suffer academically in environments where absenteeism is a problem.
While attendance is important at all levels of education, attendance in early grades is critical. Much of the work (not to mention money) that helps a child gain school readiness skills in preschool or Head Start programs is negated if that child is chronically absent during kindergarten and first grade. They may have entered kindergarten with the same level of readiness skills as their peers, but by third grade they are woefully behind. In one study, students with poor attendance in their kindergarten and first grades scored an average of 60 points below similar students with good attendance on third-grade reading tests. In math, the gap was nearly 100 points.
September is National Attendance month. However, just because September is slipping away doesn’t mean attendance goes on the back burner. Far from it. Every school day counts, whether it’s in September, March, or May.
According to the National Center for Student Engagement, achieving high attendance rates occurs when parents, schools, and the community work together to get kids to attend and stay in school.
Thank you school and community partners, donors, and volunteers. Together, we are encircling our children and singing the ABCs of attendance…
Alarm Clocks & After-School Coordinators
Boots & Backpacks
Food in the belly
Gloves & Good night sleeps
Parents & Principals
Site Coordinators, Socks & Shoes, Success Coaches
Teachers & Tutors
Volunteers & VISTAs
Youth Development Workers
Zippers that Work on Coats
A terrific op-ed piece written by Dan Cardinali, president of Communities In Schools recently ran in the New York Times. You can read ”How to Get Kids to Class” here.