by Darrian Hopson
"Mom, can I stay home today?"
"Mom, I overslept!"
"I just don’t feel like going to school today, we’re not doing anything, anyway."
We’ve all heard these statements before. And said them, too! But with September being designated Attendance Awareness Month, it's just in time for the start of another school year and a reminder to help your child actively attend school as much as possible.
Ease into a culture promoting the need to simply be there first; it serves as a starting point for improving grades and picking up study habits. According to Attendance Works' report Chronic Elementary Absenteeism: A Problem Hidden in Plain Sight, "If children aren’t in school, they don’t learn. Improving attendance improves success in school."
This problem doesn’t come from four or five absences. It's deeper than that. It’s systemic. In a regular 180-day school year, missing 18 days, for any reason, is considered chronic absence. It may not seem like much but with the lack of resources in many schools across the city and nation, this lost time in a learning environment is difficult to make up.
What’s important is preventing low attendance from happening, starting at an early age. Children love being rewarded and appreciated for their successes. For example, begin with small incentives for your child, such as extra snacks after they get home from school. Or, take your child somewhere that would be saved for a special occasion.
Ensuring children are surrounded by friends who are also attending school is crucial. Work to ensure a child has influences that will help create a culture of attendance being a priority.
To learn more about Read by 4th and our efforts to boost school attendance, visit readby4th.org.