It’s been said that the first secret to success is showing up. That is certainly true for children attending school. Research indicates that missing 10% of the school year—just two or three days each month—can translate into third-graders unable to read, sixth-graders failing classes, and ninth-graders dropping out of high school. Yet many families, students, and schools do not realize how critical attendance is to academic success, as nearly 1 in 10 students miss that much school each year.
Attendance Works has created a Count Us In! Toolkit to help school administrators, teachers, PTAs, community groups, and local leaders who care about children’s success communicate the importance of school attendance during Attendance Awareness Month in September. There are several ways that PTAs can get involved in spreading the word.
- Conduct poster or Public Service Announcement (PSA) video contests.
- Share the online Get Schooled Attendance Counts Calculator that interactively illustrates the effect of how missing middle or high school reduces academic performance and the likelihood of graduation.
- Share the parent handouts and other attendance toolkits and resources with your families and school administrators.
- Sharing the Attendance Works: A Community Imperative video that details the attendance issue and shares solutions from across the country that have worked to reduce chronic absence.
This year’s Attendance Awareness Campaign has nine key messages that your PTA can share:
- Good attendance helps children do well in school and eventually in the workplace.
- Excused and unexcused absences quickly add up to too much time lost in the classroom.
- Students are at risk academically if they miss 10 percent of the school year, or about 18 days.
- Chronic absence, missing 10 percent or more of the school year does not just affect the students who miss school.
- Educators and families need to monitor how many days each student misses school for any reason—excused, unexcused, or suspensions—so we can intervene early.
- Chronic absence is a problem we can solve when the whole community works with families and schools.
- Relationship building is fundamental to any strategy for improving student attendance.
- Reducing chronic absence can help close the achievement gap.
- Map and address the attendance gap.
You can read more on each of these key messages and share them through a printable PDF as well. Improving school attendance is critical to helping further PTA’s mission to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.