Every year, one in 10 kindergarten and 1st grade students misses a month of school with excused and unexcused absences. By middle and high school, the rates of chronic absence are far higher. School attendance is essential to academic success, but too often students, parents and schools don’t realize how quickly absences, excused or unexcused, can add up to academic trouble. Chronic absence — missing just 10 percent of school or about 18 days per academic year— can lead to third graders unable to master reading, sixth graders failing courses and ninth graders dropping out of high school.
The impact is the greatest on low-income students who lack the resources to make up for the lost time in the classroom. Every school day counts, and everyone can make a difference: educators, afterschool programs, mayors, businesses and parents.
Several key groups have come together to focus on this issue in an Attendance Awareness Campaign: America’s Promise Alliance, Attendance Works, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Civic Enterprises and Points of Light and is supported by a growing list of other organizations.
Attendance Awareness Month is in September, but it’s never too early to start gathering your team. While most efforts begin naturally and logically with parents and school leaders, there are a number of other powerful allies who can play key roles and give a big boost to Attendance Awareness Month this fall.
Can we mark you “present?” America’s Promise Alliance, Attendance Works, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Points of Light and United Way Worldwide invite you to join us as we launch the second year of the Attendance Awareness Campaign, which designates September as Attendance Awareness Month.
How Volunteer Organizations Can Help Improve Attendance:
1. Volunteer organizations can partner with schools to reduce chronic absenteeismCorps 18 AmeriCorps Vista
2. Help create a culture of attendance through events and general messaging
3. Foster stronger family and student engagement
What Community Schools Can Do to Reduce Chronic Absence:Offer a philosophy of working in partnership to address holistic needs of students and families Create a network of supports that ensure good attendance as part of a vision for academic success, family self-sufficiency, and economic prosperity Have the advantage of pre-existing partnerships already in place between schools, community- based organizations and other groups
Exposure to language: Starting in Pre-K, attendance equals exposure to language-rich environments especially for low-income children.
Time on Task in Class: Students only benefit from classroom instruction if they are in class.
On Track for Success: Chronic absence is a proven early warning sign of academic trouble and dropping out of school.
College Readiness: Attendance patterns predict college enrollment and persistence.
For the first time in U.S. history the nation’s high school graduation rate rose above 80 percent, according to the 2014 Building a GradNation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic report released April 28 by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education. While more than eight in 10 public high school students are graduating on time, Building a GradNation shows more good news: the number of students enrolled in dropout factories has dropped 47 percent over the last decade, students of color have led the way in increasing graduation rates and leaving dropout factory high schools, and these increases have come as standards to graduate have gotten tougher.