Lake County Office of Education recognizes that good school attendance is essential to academic success. But far too many students are at risk academically because they are chronically absent. Chronic absence is described as missing 10 percent of the school year—or about 18 days – for any reason, excused or unexcused.
Equal opportunity for all children to learn, regardless of circumstance or social standing, is a foundation of our education system. Each year many children are denied that right because of chronic absenteeism from school. All efforts by the school system and teachers to improve curriculum and instruction won't matter if kids aren't in school.
Absenteeism in the first month of school, even in kindergarten, can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to miss nearly a month of school during that school year. Poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade, and by 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.
When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating. This matters to everyone in the community, not just those with school age children. Addressing chronic absence is a key component of improving graduation rates, increasing academic achievement and giving young people the best chance at success in their adult life and becoming active members of their communities.
During school attendance awareness month, and every month, help your children and the children you know build a habit of regular attendance. Parents should make getting their children to school on time every day a priority. If there are barriers to improving attendance, like health related issues or lack of reliable transportation, parents should talk with school administrators who may help solve those issues. Everybody plays a role in ensuring that our children attend school regularly. Let’s work together to help all kids attend today so they can achieve tomorrow.
Brock Falkenberg Lake County Superintendent of Schools