Published September 1, 2022
Welcome back! It’s September, and that means your kids are officially back in school. But are they back in school consistently? The Department of Education states that 1 out of every 6 kids is chronically absent. So, in honor of Attendance Awareness Month, let’s take a moment to focus on the importance of classroom attendance.
The Importance of High Attendance
Your kids will likely miss a day of school here and there because of illness, vacations, or other important family matters. But when they miss 15 days or more, that’s known as “chronic absenteeism,” and it can have a devastating impact on their future. Here’s the good news, though: showing up for school consistently can really set your kids up for success. Below are just a few ways that high attendance rates help students win big.
Higher Test Scores
In education, a lot of concepts build on each other. So, when your child misses too many days of school, they might be completely lost when they return. But when your child maintains attendance, they have all of the context they need to keep up. So, it’s no surprise that high attendance can lead to higher test scores and better academic performance.
Better Outcomes in Adulthood
When kids go to school regularly, that can translate to a much more comfortable adulthood. For example, kids with high attendance rates tend to find themselves in better living conditions as they get older. They also tend to have more access to healthier foods and medical care. They even tend to make more money. In fact, Georgetown University found that high-school graduates earn about a million dollars more than high-school dropouts over the course of a lifetime.
More Personal Support
Is your child navigating a personal challenge? Could they use a little bit of extra support? Because whether it’s a learning disability, a crisis at home, or a mental health consideration, your school might have access to the help your child needs. Going to school regularly puts your kids in closer contact with those solutions.
High Attendance Helps the Entire Class
If a student misses a day of school, their teachers will try their best to catch that student up along the way. But if a student is chronically missing school, that little game of “catch up” starts to happen pretty often, which disrupts the normal flow of learning for the rest of the class. Maintaining high attendance, on the other hand, keeps all of the students in rhythm and the lesson plan on track.
How Parents Can Help Improve Their Kids’ Attendance
As you can see, high attendance can lead to a lot of great outcomes both now and in your child’s future. And as a parent, there’s plenty you can do to help their attendance:
Communicate Transportation Issues
Let’s say your child can’t physically make it into school each day. Maybe they have a chronic illness. Or maybe they don’t have safe transportation to and from the building. Your school might be able to help with that. Whether it’s through remote learning, extra help, or community programs, they might have resources for your exact situation. But you never know until you ask. So, be sure to communicate any extenuating circumstances.
Help Identify and Communicate Special Needs
No one knows your child better than you do. If your kids have special needs—like autism spectrum disorder or dyslexia—be sure to communicate those needs to your school. And if you aren’t sure, but think your child needs to be evaluated, communicate that need as well. The administration might have access to the specialized help your child needs, or be able to get them one step closer.
Help Manage Behavioral Issues
When a student is getting kicked out of class, suspended, or skipping school altogether, that obviously deals quite a blow to their attendance record. But there’s usually more to the story. Maybe they have a behavioral issue that can easily be treated. Or maybe they’re dealing with something serious that they aren’t sure how to share. Try to communicate with your child, engage, and see if there’s an underlying issue that you can help resolve. And if you’re in over your head, talk to the school, as they might have a team of professionals who can step in. There’s always a solution as long as you know the problem.
Attendance Awareness Month is the perfect time to really emphasize the importance of classroom attendance. High attendance has been linked to better test scores, better outcomes in adult life, and it might even get them the personal help they need. When you help get your kids to class, you help them get ahead.