Do I Have to Go to School Today?

September is Attendance Awareness Month and Partners for Education is adding our voice to this nation-wide effort. 

Attendance is important for our children and is a habit that we need to instill early.  Missing just two days a month adds up to 18 school days, or 10% of the school year, which results in a student being “chronically absent.” As early as kindergarten, chronic absenteeism negatively affects students’ ability to perform and learn at grade level.  Regular attendance through middle and high school is one of the best predictors of high school graduation for students.

To see exactly how missed days add up, follow this link http://bit.ly/VR7OFR for the “Absences Add Up” calculator from http://getschooled.com.

Knowing that attendance is important still doesn’t make mornings easy when your child pulls the covers over their head, refuses to get out of bed, or begs you not to make them to go to school today. Does your kindergarten student miss the comfort of being at home during the day? Is your middle school student scared about not doing well on a test?  Is your high school student bored with school?   Having time each day to discuss some of the challenges and successes of school can help mitigate the morning struggles. Spend some time with your child before the morning struggle, exploring how the situation can be improved.  Perhaps your kindergartener can take something that reminds them of home with them to school.  Your middle school student could start a routine for studying to help prepare before the test.  Your high school student’s boredom may be overcome with more challenging classes.

We know that attendance works for helping our students, our families and our communities.  We all have a part to play in making sure our students are at school as much as possible so they can have the best chance at success.  Though the whole community plays a part, parents and families are the ones that deal with these real struggles first thing in the morning, often before their first cup of coffee.  Thank you to all the parents and caring adults who get children to school even when it is hard!

For more information about Attendance Awareness Month please visit the attendance works website at http://awareness.attendanceworks.org/ .

Grace McKenzie is the Associate Director of Family Partnership. She is a Berea alum and a first-generation college student. Her work focuses on programs that help you access resources that are available in Partners for Education’s counties, particularly financial and educational resources. To contact Grace, email her at grace_mckenzie@berea.edu or call (859) 985-4124.