Missing just 10 percent of the school year in the early grades can leave many students struggling throughout elementary school. By sixth grade, missing only that much school is strongly linked to course failure and even eventually dropping out of high school. That’s just 18 days of the school year— or two to three days per month. Every school day counts, and everyone can make a difference. To rally communities around the importance of attendance, America's Promise Alliance, Attendance Works, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Civic Enterprises and Points of Light will launch Attendance Attendance Awareness Month in September.
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 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.
There are many ways to participate in Attendance Awareness Month, including:
- Organizing parent summits, letters and outreach to families
- Arranging contests, celebrity visits and other incentives for students
- Calling for proclamations from mayors or superintendents
- Developing public service announcements for national or local media
- Advocating for improved data tracking to identify students with at-risk attendance
- Organizing community-wide attendance campaigns
Free Webinar on Improving Attendance
In addition, a free webinar will take place on Tuesday, April 9 from 1:00-2:15pm ET. This webinar will highlight leaders in three cities – Baltimore, Los Angeles and New York – who have rallied parents, schools, city agencies, nonprofits, businesses and elected officials in their communities to promote and improve student attendance.
- Hedy Chang, Director, Attendance Works
- Debra Duardo, Interim Executive Director, Student Health & Human Services, Los Angeles Unified School District
- Kimberly Manns, Program Director, Baltimore Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
- Peter Goldwasser, Chief Program Officer, Office of Policy & Strategic Planning,Office of the Mayor, City of New York
The presenters will share examples of how they have improved attendance and have given thousands of students a greater opportunity to learn and succeed. The webinar will also introduce a toolkit featuring specific tactics, as well as a set of online resources, to help promote Attendance Awareness Month, including ideas for special events, contests, proclamations, sample news releases, public service announcements, flyers, videos and more.