Attendance Awareness Month 2016
Kern County will be recognizing Attendance Awareness Month from mid August through mid September 2016. The goal is to mobilize schools and communities not only to promote the value of good attendance but also to take concrete steps toward reducing chronic absence in Kern County Schools.
School Attendance Resource Booklet
Readable PDF — CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Readable PDF — CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
School attendance is essential to academic success, but too often students, parents and schools do not realize how quickly absences — excused as well as unexcused — can add up to academic trouble. Chronic absence — missing 10 percent of the school year, or just 2-3 days every month — can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing courses and ninth-graders dropping out of high school. The impact hits low-income students, who most depend on school for providing opportunities to learn, particularly hard.
- Missing just 2-3 days every month can translate into third graders unable to read on grade level.
- Being chronically late to school often leads to poor attendance.
- Absences can affect other students if a teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
- Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school — and themselves.
- Good attendance in the early grades will help children do well in high school, college and at work.
- By junior high and high school, chronic absence is the leading warning sign that a student will drop out of school.
- High school graduates make, on average, a million dollars more than a dropout over a lifetime.
Everybody has a role to play: parents, schools, city agencies, community nonprofits, after-school programs, healthcare providers, businesses and others. While it is important to emphasize attendance throughout the year, the start of the Fall is when schools and communities lay out expectations for the coming year and can develop a culture of attendance that will continue throughout the year.
Getting your child to school on time, every day, unless he or she is sick, is something that you can do to ensure your child has a chance to succeed in school. While others can help, you are the bottom line. You can promote good attendance when you:
- Establish and stick to the basic routines (i.e., setting a bedtime and sticking to it, laying our clothes and packing a backpack the night before, waking up on time, etc.) that will help your child develop the habit of on-time attendance.
- Talk to your child about why going to school every day is critical and important unless they are sick. If your child seems reluctant to go to school, find out why and work with the teacher, administrator or afterschool provider to get them excited about going to school.
- Come up with back up plans for who to turn to (another family member, a neighbor or fellow parents) to help you get your child to school if something comes up (e.g. another child gets sick, your car breaks down, etc.).
- Reach out for help if you are experiencing tough times (i.e., transportation, unstable housing, loss of a job, health problems) that make it difficult to get your child to school. Other parents, your child’s teacher, principal, social worker, school nurse, afterschool providers or community agencies can help you problem solve or connect you to a needed resource.
- If your child is absent, work with the teacher to make sure she or he has an opportunity to learn and make up for the academics missed.
As teachers, you are the first line of defense against chronic absence. You can:
- Take roll regularly showing students that you care when they miss school.
- Reach out to frequently absent students to find out in a supportive manner why they are missing school and what would help them attend more regularly.
- Work with parents to stress the importance of early education and to learn about any barriers to good attendance.
- Create a nurturing, engaging classroom that will encourage children to come to school.
- Work with colleagues to develop and implement a school-wide system of incentives and reward for good attendance.
Leaders within schools and districts must own the issue of chronic absenteeism. You can:
- Make it clear that improved student attendance is one of your top priorities.
- Ensure teachers take roll regularly so students know someone cares when they miss school.
- Ensure all classrooms are nurturing and engaging so children want to come to school every day.
- Invest in accurate collection and entry of attendance data into student data systems.
- Calculate and analyze chronic absence and good attendance to discern patterns for students and schools.
- Partner with families and community groups to develop and address attendance challenges affecting large numbers of students (i.e., unreliable transportation, lack of access to health care, unstable and unaffordable housing).
- Develop and implement a school-wide system of incentives and rewards for good attendance.
- Reach out to frequently absent students to find out in a supportive. manner why they are missing school and what would help them attend more regularly.
- Invest in professional development to help teachers and administrators understand chronic absence.
- Make attendance a community priority: City agencies, volunteer organizations, church groups, foundations and parents can all help schools improve attendance.
- Faith-based leaders can talk with your congregations regularly about the importance of regular school attendance.
- Identify and address barriers to attendance: City resources, from social service agencies to transit authorities, can help break down barriers that are keeping children from coming to school.
- Provide literature about the importance of attendance to parents during back-to-school checkups.
- Educate families and students about the importance of attending school unless a child is truly ill.
- Encourage parents to schedule routine check ups when school is not in session; if they come during the school day, encourage them to return their children to school after the appointment.
In addition to the tools available below, there is an abundance of additional information and resources available at http://awareness.attendanceworks.org/
For Community Members
- Chronic Absenteeism Fact Sheet
- Attendance Awareness Infographic: English and Spanish
- Sample Attendance Awareness Month social media posts