Adapted from an article by School News Network – “Somewhere along the line, the perception of school attendance changed from one of primacy — you attend school unless there’s a reason not to — to one of ‘Well, it really doesn’t matter if you miss school, as long as it’s for a good reason.’
“And that’s not true. What we’re learning is any absenteeism, for any reason, is harmful to the learning process,” said Mark Larson, Kent Intermediate School District’s truancy and attendance coordinator. Schools within KISD are encouraging students to “strive for less than five” absences this school year, part of a campaign which encourages students not to miss any more than four days of school per year.
The harm from school absences is measurable, said Larson, whose work has become increasingly data-driven. Every 10 days of absence, he said, equates to a drop in one full letter grade. In as little as five absences, Larson said, there can be a drop in standardized test scores.
FHPS elementary schools started work two years ago to communicate the importance of lost learning when children miss school. They created an informational brochure about when it is best to schedule children’s appointments, to what to do when children are sick, to routines, unnecessary absences, and most importantly communication with the schools, teachers, and counselors. For a copy of this informational piece, click here.