Someone once said that 80% of success in life is just showing up. Academically, however, showing up is even more important. One of the most effective ways to ensure the future success of your child is also one of the easiest: Be certain they show up. Even in these times of distance learning, it’s crucial that your child participates academically every day.
Absenteeism has been found to be a fairly accurate predictor of a child’s future. Starting as early as kindergarten, a child with a high absentee rate — even just a few days a year — can have difficulty socializing, and may struggle more with skills like reading, in later grades.
A study by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) found that:
- Starting in Kindergarten, missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) can make it harder to learn to read. That is just a day or two days every few weeks.
- By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of the three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
- Students who are frequently absent in Kindergarten do less well in first grade.
- Absences add up in elementary school. Research shows that missing 18 days in a school year … or 2 days every month … can result in lower test scores and possible retention in later grades.
According to the South Dakota Department of Education, by 6th grade chronic absenteeism is a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school, and high school graduates make $1 million more than a dropout over a lifetime. A student who misses just 10 days of school each year is also 25% less likely to enroll in college.
How can parents ensure good attendance? Here are some tips for parents from Attendance Matters:
- I will talk to my child about how attending/participating in school every day will help them do well in school and achieve their hopes and dreams.
- I will keep an attendance/participation chart at home. At the end of the week, I will recognize my child for attending/participating in school every day with some reward or special treat.
- I will post my child’s current class schedule and log in information in a visible location.
- If my child is distance learning, I will identify a quiet place in my home for my child to attend classes every day.
- I will establish routines for bedtime, waking up and showing up for class.
- I’ll develop back-up plans for getting my child to school in person, or for logging in to class or completing an assignment when I can’t be there to help. I’ll identify a family member, neighbor or an older child who can help.
- If my child is absent, I will contact the teacher to find out what they missed.
- If my child seems bored, I will contact the teacher to discuss how we might make sure they are engaged in learning.
- I will help keep my child healthy by making sure they wear a mask as needed and they get a flu vaccine and other required shots.
- I will set up non-urgent medical and dental appointments for weekdays after school.
We urge all parents to be certain their child attends classes every day, whether at home in the classroom. Being absent is time lost that becomes increasingly difficult to make up. Every parent wants their child to have a bright and successful future and the best way to ensure that outcome is to keep absences as rare as possible.