Why Attendance Matters

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Did You Know That…

Every year, as many as 8 million students nationwide are chronically absent, meaning they miss 10 percent or more of the school year for any reason, excused or unexcused. That level of absenteeism predicts poor academic performance as early as kindergarten and is a warning sign that a high school student will drop out.

Chronic absence can be reduced when schools work with families and communities to debunk common myths about attendance, build a culture of going to school or preschool every day and address barriers to getting to class.

Parents and families are essential partners in promoting good attendance because they, ultimately, have the bottom-line responsibility for making sure their children get to school every day. When children are young, they are especially dependent upon adults or older siblings to help them get to school or preschool. Just as parents should focus on how their children are performing academically, they have a responsibility to set expectations for good attendance and to monitor their children’s absences, so that missed days don’t add up to academic trouble.

To carry out this responsibility, however, parents need to be equipped with the right information so they are not unwittingly falling into traps created by common and pervasive myths about attendance.

Attendance Works is a partner and resource for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which aims to make sure that all children learn to read well by the end of third grade. Attendance Works is a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice around school attendance. Attendance Works promotes tracking chronic absence data for each student beginning in kindergarten, or ideally earlier, and partnering with families and community agencies to intervene when poor attendance is a problem for students or schools.

Attendance Works believes that parent and family engagement is a key component of an effective, comprehensive approach to reducing chronic absence.  Parents are essential partners in promoting good attendance because they have the power to:

For Parents:

How missing school can affect your child’s success in school:

How Families Can Make a Difference:

For Students:

For Community Members and Educators:
Improving student attendance is an essential, cost-effective but often overlooked strategy for ensuring our students are on-track to learn and succeed. Nationwide, as many as one out of 10 students is chronically absent, meaning they miss 10 percent or more of school days, or nearly a month of school. Too often, we don’t realize how quickly absences add up: Missing just two days every month can cause a child to miss 10% of the school year and fall behind. Chronic absence is a leading, early warning indicator of academic trouble and later dropout.

The good news is that chronic absence is a problem that can be solved. While addressing some attendance barriers—such as health, poor transportation, and unstable housing—can often require longer-term strategies, everyone can make a difference by helping students and families understand that going to school every day and avoiding absences whenever possible is critical to realizing their hopes and dreams.

The Attendance Works website has everything needed to help improve attendance in your school and community:

For More Information:
Students and families in school districts in Connecticut can contact their school administrator.

To Find Resources in Connecticut’s Community Resources Database:

Search by service name:  School Districts


SOURCES: Attendance Works