District celebrates Attendance Awareness Month this September
Every school day counts.
Pearland Independent School District invites parents and the community to join in celebrating Attendance Awareness Month this September.
Regular attendance is vital for student success. When students attend regularly, starting as early as preschool and kindergarten, they have an opportunity to achieve academically and thrive. Research shows that when students are chronically absent – missing 10% or more of the school year or 18 days over an entire year – they are less likely to read proficiently by third grade, achieve in middle school and graduate from high school.
Every day a student is in school is an opportunity to learn, build relationships and access supports. With the school year having just started, now is the right time to start reinforcing regular school attendance.
“Attending school regularly ensures students’ academic success regardless of their age. Families play a determining role in reinforcing students’ attendance allowing them to make the most of their education. Consistent, predictable routines for learning every day are essential to attendance, engagement and achievement,” Pearland ISD Director of Outreach and Attendance Susan Holloway said.
Monitoring chronic absence and tracking, whether absences are excused or unexcused, is key to responding strategically to the academic and social-emotional loss experienced by millions of students. Over two years into the pandemic, chronic absence has nearly tripled. The good news is that when we take steps to reduce chronic absence, it benefits our entire society. We all prosper when children and youth have the opportunity to gain skills and abilities that prepare them for success in school, work and life.
Importance of Attendance
Below is key information regarding the importance of regular attendance and the impact of chronic absenteeism.
- Research shows that children, regardless of grade level, gender, socioeconomic status or ethnicity, lose out when they are chronically absent (missing 10 percent or more of school days or about 18 days) due to absence for any reason.
- 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.
- 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.
- Students can begin to reverse their academic difficulties if they improve their attendance.
- 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) or report the absence using the online link www.pearlandisd.org/absence 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 12 years old or older) to truancy court within 10 school days of the student’s 10th unexcused absence in a six-month period after all truancy prevention measures have been administered.
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
Parents play a critical role in getting children to school on time and in attendance for the full instructional day every day. Here are a few tips to support regular attendance:
- Establish a bedtime routine- Ensure your student gets plenty of sleep.
- Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
- Establish a morning routine- Be sure your student has time to wake up and eat breakfast.
- 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 or has any other issues at 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 care and encourages 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. Once those barriers are removed, often students are able to attend more regularly.
In the 2021-22 school year, RISE Mentoring celebrated over 400 mentoring matches with adults from the community helping students in grades K-12 rise above challenges to succeed in school and life. A quality mentoring program strengthens school-wide strategies to boost attendance.
Whether you are a parent or community member, help Pearland ISD spread the message that every school day counts!