• Why is daily attendance important?
    Answer: There is a lot to look forward to when you’re in school, including establishing routines, learning new subjects, and staying on track with your learning; making friends and interacting with peers, which is good for social-emotional skills; advancing in skills like reading and math for future learning opportunities; and so much more! Being chronically absent has a huge impact on a student’s ability to read at grade level, perform academically, and graduate on time. Good attendance can help children do well in school, and eventually in the workplace.
  • What is chronic absenteeism?

    Chronic absence measures lost time from learning. It is defined as missing 10 percent or more of the total number of days enrolled during the school year. Just two days per month can lead to chronic absence. It includes both excused, unexcused, and out-of-school suspensions. For example, a student who has been enrolled for the first 30 school days at the beginning of the school year and has been absent three of those days is chronically absent.  If a student misses 18 days in 1 school year, you will be chronically absent.

  • Why are students chronically absent?

    Research has shown that the reasons why students are chronically absent fall into four categories:

    • Myths about attendance that are not true
      • Absences are only a problem if they are unexcused
      • It’s okay to miss a day here or there
      • Attendance only matters in the later grades
      • Pre-K and kindergarten are seen as daycare, not learning
    • Barriers to attendance
      • Chronic disease (e.g. asthma) or lack of health/dental care
      • Caring for siblings or other family members
      • Unmet basic needs like transportation or housing
      • Trauma
      • Feeling unsafe getting to school
    • Disliking school 
      • Academic or social struggles
      • Being teased or bullied
      • Poor school climate or unsafe school
      • Parents had a negative school experience
    • Disengagement from school 
      • Lack of engaging and relevant instruction
      • Peer pressure to skip school with friends
      • No meaningful connections with adults in school
      • High suspension rates and incidents of school discipline
  • What kind of mental/social emotional health benefits come from being in school?

    There are so many benefits from a mental health and social-emotional learning point of view when it comes to being in school. Schooling increases self-awareness, academic achievement, and positive behaviors, both in school and out of school. Students also benefit from free or reduced-cost meals in school, social support from peers and teachers, opportunities for physical activity in gym class and extracurricular activities, as well as in-school mental and physical health services. 

  • My child has a chronic health condition and can't attend school all of the time.
    Answer: Chronic conditions are regularly managed in a school setting. Schools are staffed with nurses and other support staff who are trained to deal with a range of illnesses and medical needs. Speak to your school nurse about your child’s condition and make a plan for handling medication, flare-ups, or other needs at school.
  • If my child sleeps in or is late to school, it can be easier to just let them stay home.
    Answer: Even when a student is late to school, it is better than not attending school at all. You can also help them remove barriers so that they cut down on tardiness to begin with. If your child sleeps past their alarm, encourage them to go to bed earlier the night before or set the alarm for earlier in the morning. If you struggle with transportation issues, talk to your child’s school about supports to help. Your school is there to come up with solutions with you, so don’t hesitate to reach out and see what resources are available to avoid tardiness and help your child get the most out of their education.
  • When should I keep my child home from school?
    Answer: Keep children home with fever (within the last 24 hours), diarrhea, or vomiting. If your child has any other ailment, you can always check with the school nurse first thing in the morning to see if they should be kept home or be sent to school.
  • My family has travel plans scheduled that don't fall on my child's school vacation calendar.
    Answer: While it is important to set aside time for family and time off, school is important, too, and families should do their best to travel during scheduled vacation time throughout the year to avoid too many school absences. Remember “school is better with you!” When your student misses a day or several days, it can impact the whole class.
  • My child can get all of their assignments off the portal. Why does it matter if they're in school?
    Answer: Students don’t get the benefits of time with peers and interacting with their teachers if they aren’t at school, and they don’t enjoy extracurricular activities that can boost self-esteem and social skills. We highly encourage students to come to school as often as possible to get the most out of their education, and to set themselves up for success in the future.
  • How can I make school attendance a priority for me/my child?
    Answer: Establish routines for bedtime, waking up, and showing up for class. Develop back-up plans for getting yourself/your child to school. When school is in session, avoid extended family trips and non-urgent medical appointments. Ask your/your child’s teacher about attendance and tell the teacher any concerns you have.
  • How can I help my child stay engaged and interested in school?
    Answer: Monitor your child’s attendance and participation; and contact their teacher to address any concerns. Talk to them about what they enjoy about school, and think of ways to make less enjoyable parts of school better, together.
  • What can I do to help my child attend school more often?

    Depending on what issues your child is facing, there are many things you can do to help. 

    • Talk to your child about what they like at school and make sure they are taking classes, clubs, sports, or other activities that are interesting to them.
    • Track your child’s days out of school to ensure that they are not missing too many.
    • Limit technology, especially before bed, and make sure your child is getting enough sleep.
    • Make sure your child gets the flu vaccine and other required shots which will help them stay healthy enough to attend school throughout the year. 
    • Find out if your child feels safe from bullies. If your child seems bored or anxious about school, talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make them feel comfortable and excited about learning. 
    • For parents of older children, stay on top of your teen’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping class. Teens who have a hard time making friends can feel isolated. 
    • Ask for help when you need it. School staff, after-school program providers, and other parents or community agencies are available to help families obtain food or housing, and address other experiences that make it difficult to attend and participate.