Kingsville Independent School District

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Attendance » Key Messages for Attendance

Key Messages for Attendance

1. Good attendance helps children do well in school and eventually in the workplace.

Good attendance
matters for school  success, starting as early as prekindergarten and throughout elementary school. By middle and high school, poor attendance is a leading indicator of dropout.  Developing the habit of attendance prepares students for success on the job and in life.


2. Excused and unexcused absences easily add up to too much time lost in the classroom.

Students are at risk academically if they miss 10 percent of the school year, or about 18 days. Once too many absences have occurred, they can affect learning, regardless of whether absences are excused or unexcused.

Sporadic, not just consecutive, absences matter. Before you know it just one or two days a month can add up to nearly 10 percent of the school year.

Avoid unnecessary absences. Some absences are unavoidable. Occasionally, children get sick and need to stay home. What is important is getting children to school as often as possible.

3. Chronic absence, missing 10 percent of the school year or more, does not just affect the students who miss school. If too many students are chronically absent, it slows down instruction for other students, who must wait while the teacher repeats material for absentee students. This makes it harder for students to learn and teachers to teach.


4. We need to monitor  how many days each student misses school for any reason— excused, unexcused or suspensions— so we can intervene  early. Districts and schools should use data to identify how many and which students are chronically absent so they can target extra supports that can improve attendance and interrupt a pattern of chronic absence. Families should track how many days their children have missed so they are aware of when they should be concerned and take action. We can’t afford to think of absenteeism as merely a lack of compliance with school rules or a loss of funding. Absences represent lost opportunities to learn in the classroom.


5. Chronic absence is a problem we can solve when the whole community, along with to parents and schools, get involved  in improving attendance. All of us can make a difference by helping students and families feel engaged in learning and their schools, setting the expectation that school attendance matters and working together to identify and help families overcome barriers to getting to school. Community partners are especially important for helping schools and families address and overcome tough barriers, such as limited access to health care, unstable  housing, poor transportation or neighborhood violence.


6. Relationship building is fundamental to any strategy for improving student attendance. Students are more likely to go to school if they know someone cares whether they show up.  Trusting relationships whether with teachers, mentors, coaches or other caring adults are critical to encouraging families and students to seek out help to overcome barriers to attendance.


7.  Reducing chronic absence can help close achievement gaps. Chronic  absence especially affects achievement for low-income students who depend more on school for opportunities to learn. Because they are more likely to face systemic barriers to getting to school, low-income children, many of whom are children of color, have higher levels of chronic absence starting as early as prekindergarten. Chronic absence data can be used to trigger interventions so high-risk student populations receive the supports they need, ideally before they fall behind academically. Especially among older students of color, chronic absence could signal the need to reform inappropriate and biased student discipline policies and practices that are pushing students out of class