District celebrates Attendance Awareness Month
Every school day counts.
Pearland Independent School District invites parents and the community to join in celebrating Attendance Awareness Month this September.
While most students start the school year with a well-stuffed backpack, many fall behind academically because of a bigger issue than the right school supplies: chronic absenteeism, a leading, early warning indicator of academic trouble and later dropout.
With the school year having just started, now is the right time to start reinforcing regular school attendance. Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year and half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to be chronically absent for the year, missing an average of 25 days.
“Attending school regularly ensures students’ academic success, regardless of their age or grade. Families play a determining role in reinforcing students’ attendance and punctuality, allowing them to make the most of their education,” Pearland ISD Coordinator of Student Outreach and Intervention Services Susan Holloway said.
Importance of Attendance
Below is key information regarding the importance of regular attendance and the impact of chronic absenteeism.
- Chronic absence, or missing 10 percent or more of school days (about 18 days) due to absence for any reason - excused, unexcused absences and suspensions, affects students of all grade levels.
- Research shows that children, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status or ethnicity, lose out when they are chronically absent (that is, they miss nearly a month of school or more over the course of a year).
- Starting as early as preschool and kindergarten, chronic absence erodes students’ ability to learn and achieve in school. It increases the likelihood that children will be unable to read well by third grade, fail classes in middle school and drop out of high school.
- Parents who believe attendance is very important tend to have children with better attendance rates.
- Students can begin to reverse their academic difficulties if they improve their attendance.
- When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating.
- Chronic absence is a problem we can solve when the whole community works with, families and schools.
Attendance Is the Law
Not only does school attendance improve students’ chance of success, but it’s also state law.
Pearland ISD encourages parents to remember these attendance rules:
- By law, students must attend school at least 90 percent of school days each year regardless of the excuse.
- To report an absence, parents must send a handwritten note (parent or medical) within three school days, or the absence will be considered unexcused and count toward truancy (emails, calls or faxes will not be accepted).
- According to compulsory attendance law, students between ages 6-19 must attend school unless they are legally exempted or excused. Upon enrollment in pre-K or kindergarten, a child must attend school.
- The district is required by law to refer the parent (and student if age 12-18) to truancy court within 10 school days of the student’s 10th unexcused absence in six months.
Is an Absence Excused or Unexcused?
Examples of excused absences include observation of religious holy days, personal illnesses, court proceedings and documented healthcare appointments.
Unexcused include family vacations, personal business, skipping class and oversleeping.
Turning Absenteeism Around
Chronic absence is not just about truancy or willfully skipping school. Instead, children stay home because of chronic illness, unreliable transportation, housing issues, bullying and more.
Parents play a critical role in getting children to school on time every day. Here are a few tips to support regular attendance:
- Establish a bedtime and morning routine.
- Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
- Ensure your child goes to school every day unless he/she is truly sick.
- Avoid scheduling vacations or other appointments when school is in session.
- Talk to teachers and counselors if your child feels anxious about going to school.
- Create emergency back-up plans with neighbors, family and other parents for getting your child to school.
Some ways Pearland ISD works with the community to establish a climate of world-class care and encourage attendance are the United for Kids community committee and RISE Mentoring.
United for Kids draws together community members, social agencies and organizations to create a safety net for students. Members dialogue about students’ physical and emotional needs and coordinate efforts to help.
In the 2018-19 school year, RISE Mentoring celebrated 541 mentoring matches, with adults community-wide helping students in grades K-12 rise above challenges to succeed in school and life.
Whether you are a parent or community member, help Pearland ISD spread the message that every school day counts!