During September, we recognize Attendance Awareness Month. Attendance Awareness Month is a national campaign to promote the value of regular school attendance. There are actions needed by schools, parents, and communities to reduce chronic absence of students. It is important to encourage regular school attendance. Regular school attendance is important to overall school success for students. Regular school attendance is critical to achieve and develop a strong foundation for success in school and ultimately, in the future. Regular school attendance will help students achieve better grades and have a better chance of graduating from high school and going to college.
As we promote Attendance Awareness Month in September and continue during the entire school year, here are some tools to promote and establish regular attendance:
- Send your child to school every day and on time
- Find a morning routine that works for you and your children and be consistent with it
- Find multiple transportation options to get your children to school
- If you are struggling with getting your children to school be sure to talk with the school
- Promote the importance of attendance in the beginning of the year
- Celebrate Attendance Awareness throughout the entire school year not just in September
- Reward perfect attendance weekly, monthly, and quarterly, and yearly
The previous two years at my school, we have struggled with overall daily attendance at my school. We do not have buses, so our students are dropped off to school. Without the comfort of buses, we have to stay on top of attendance. To increase our attendance, we have made it a priority this year. We work closely with our attendance and truancy officer to identify attendance trends. We created our attendance incentive called Tiger PAWS (Perfect Attendance Welcomes Success). During this program, we celebrate attendance weekly, monthly, quarter, and yearly. We recognized both students and parent. For students, we offer free dress down days since our students have to wear uniforms. We recognized parents by providing $10 gas cards as incentives. Focusing on attendance has led to increasing attendance during the first two months of the school year. We know we have a great school year ahead, and we know we are off to a great start.
We know other factors contribute to increased attendance such as the school’s culture and climate. Having a positive school culture makes missing school for a student something they do not want to do. Positive school cultures make students be more invested in their learning. When they are invested, they want to attend school. We focus on building positive relationships with parents. These positive relationships allow for the parents to see the school as a partner and not as an enemy. When parents know the school is on their side, they will be open to making sure their children attend school on a regular. Community partnership is another key component of regular attendance. We do not have school buses, so our partnership with community organizations make transportation easy for our parents. We have a list of daycare providers that do both before and after school. We also have after school programs at the school that can keep students involved at school later in the day to allow parents to get off work. Our best partnership is with the local Boys and Girls Club who provide memberships for the year at discount prices for our students.
Regular attendance is an essential factor to drive student success. We need more students in school and not out of school.