A missed school day is a lost opportunity for students to learn. A2A works to promote and encourage school attendance for students’ learning and overall success.
Missing two days a month – excused or unexcused – can add up to a child being considered chronically absent.
That is why it is extremely important to prioritize attendance and to get kids to school on time, every day.
What is chronic absenteeism?
Chronic absenteeism means missing too much school for any reason excused or unexcused. Experts and a growing number of states define chronic absenteeism as missing 10% (or around 18 days) during a school year. (Attendanceworks.org)
Reasons for chronic absences:
If your child is missing several days of school it is important to consider the reason for the absenteeism.
- Children with common chronic illnesses, such as asthma, miss more school.
- Anxiety or depression are common reasons for absences.
- Up to 5% of children have school-related anxiety.
From Preschool through High School, absenteeism has serious implications for students’ academic outcomes.
- Students with chronic absenteeism in kindergarten and first grade are less likely to read on grade level by the third grade.
- Lower test scores
- Lower likelihood of being on track in high School
- Lower likelihood of graduating
- More likely to be suspended and drop out of high school.
- Chronic absenteeism is also linked with teen substance use, as well as poor health as adults.
Here are some tips that will help you getting your child to school on time, every day:
Set attendance goals with your child. Talk about the importance of attending school everyday.
Help your child get a good night’s sleep- Younger children need 10-12 hours per night and adolescents (13-18 years of age) need 8-10 hours per night.
Prepare the night before to streamline your morning. Lay out your child’s clothes. Pack backpacks and lunches. Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up like a missed bus or an early meeting. Have a family member, a neighbor, or another trusted adult on standby to take your child to school should you ever need help.
Try to schedule dental or medical appointments before or after school hours. If children have to miss school for medical appointments, have them return immediately afterward so they do not miss the entire day.
Schedule extended trips during school breaks. This helps your child stay caught up in school learning and sets the expectation for your child to be in school during the school year. Even in elementary school, missing a week of classes can set your child behind on learning.
Don’t let your child stay home unless he or she is truly sick. Reasons to keep your child home from school include a temperature greater than 101 degrees, vomiting, diarrhea, a hacking cough, or a toothache. Keep in mind that complaints of frequent stomachaches or headaches can be a sign of anxiety and may not be a reason to stay home.
Talk with your child about the reasons why he or she does not want to go to school. School-related anxiety can lead to school avoidance. Talk to your child about their symptoms and try to get them to talk about any emotional struggles they may have with issues like bullying, fear or physical harm. If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, talk with your child’s teacher, or school counselor.
If your child has a chronic health issue such as asthma, allergies, or seizures, talk with your pediatrician about developing a school action plan. Meet with and get to know the nurse at your child’s school. If you need guidance and documentation for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan, ask you school administrator or school psychologist for help.
Communicate with your child’s school. Be sure you know what your school’s requirements are for when your child will be absent or late. Call, email or provide a doctor’s note when required.
For additional information contact Naomi Tolentino, Program & Prevention Specialist of A2A at 913-279-2247