Strive for Less than Five!
When your child misses just one day of school per month, even in kindergarten and lower grades, they will be LESS likely to graduate from high school. But when your child misses fewer than five days of school per year — from kindergarten to senior year — high school graduation is much more likely.
Did you know that September is Attendance Awareness Month? GRPS’ Family and Community Engagement (FACE) office aims to build and support a culture of attendance for all our students, which is why September’s Power Parent Magazine is dedicated to bringing our families the latest information about attendance during distance learning.
Power Parent: September 2020 covers each of the following articles:
- NEED TO DO: “Importance of Attendance” Quiz features a fun pop quiz to test your knowledge of attendance policies
- Check your answers from the previous quiz in GOOD TO KNOW: How’d You Do?
- Sleep is critical for children! Learn more in SETTING GOALS: Forming Healthy Sleep Habits
- Under CHECK IT OUT: News Travels Fast, read about how GRPS is leading the nation with our influential Strive for Less than 5! attendance campaign
- Find local resources and tools that promote good school attendance in NETWORKING FOR SUCCESS: Eliminating Barriers Together
- Under NAVIGATING ACHIEVEMENT: Family Guides, discover a wealth of resources that communicate the importance of attendance — and help your family meet your attendance goals
- Find prompts that you can use to talk to your child about attendance in FAMILY CONVERSATIONS: Meal Time is Valuable!
The Importance of Attendance
Your child’s attendance is more important than ever! Due to the pandemic, decreased connectivity and increased closures have put incredible stress on everyone. By regularly attending distance learning or hybrid classes, students establish much-needed routines and make connections with their peers and teachers. This allows students to remain social and intellectually engaged.
DID YOU KNOW? Missing one day of school per month, even in the younger grades, lowers your child’s likelihood of graduating from high school.
A student who misses 10% of the school year (around 18 days) is considered “chronically absent.” Chronically absent students may earn lower test scores and display poor attendance and retention in later grades. Parents and caregivers play an important role in making attendance a priority.
Attendance is a shared responsibility between a student, the parent or caregiver, and the school community.
Parent and caregivers play an important role in making school attendance a priority! If your child seems anxious about using the distance learning platform or has trouble adjusting to distance learning, please reach out to your child’s school. Principals, teachers, counselors, and other school personnel will happily support your child throughout the entire process.
Every missed day of school is a missed opportunity to learn. Frequent absences, even in elementary school, can make your child fall behind in reading and math. Students with frequent absences are less likely to graduate high school.
Forming healthy sleep habits
Your child’s learning ability, mood, and behavior are linked to how much sleep they get each night. Parents know that a restful night can make the difference between a quick, pleasant morning routine and a tantrum, which can impact your child’s school attendance.
According to healthychildren.org and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), children require different amounts of sleep each night depending on their developmental stage. Here is a helpful chart that your family can reference when establishing your child’s bedtime routine:
In addition to establishing healthy sleep habits, there are a number of other ways you can support your child. The FACE office created this helpful checklist of things your family can do before school, after school, and before bedtime each day to achieve your attendance goals:
GRPS Leads Nation with Campaign
GRPS’ innovative Strive for Less than 5! attendance campaign has been featured in a U.S. Department of Education webinar, NPR’s All Things Considered, and the website of national education consultant Attendance Works.
GRPS’ Strive for Less than 5! campaign recognizes that, as parents, YOU are the person your child will look to to promote good attendance. Like parents and caretakers before you, you have the day-to-day responsibility to make sure your children enter their distance learning classrooms, on time, every day.
Before families and schools can form a partnership to Strive for Less than 5!, it helps to understand the things that lead to poor attendance. Here are some situations that might cause your student anxiety and make them want to avoid school:
- Academic or social struggles
- Too much or not enough discipline, or an unsafe school environment
- Parents had a negative school experience
Just as your student might face anxiety around attending school, their attendance might also suffer because of disengagement. Here’s why:
- Classroom lessons are not engaging to the student, or don’t seem relevant to their lives
- Student hasn’t formed meaningful relationships with adults in their school
- Student enjoys being with peers outside of school more than they enjoy being with them in school
Eliminating Barriers Together
Did you know that some chronically absent students have poor attendance for reasons beyond their control, such as unstable housing, unreliable transportation and a lack of access to health care? GRPS’ Family and Community Engagement (FACE) office aims to build a culture of attendance, which begins with identifying these types of barriers and facing them head-on.
A portion of the Parent University website has been dedicated to listing useful local resources for families. GRPS is committed to supporting more than just a child’s education; follow this link to explore resources related to mental health, meal distribution and nutrition services, bullying prevention, and more. Recognizing that COVID-19 has presented families with additional barriers, our website also provides links to resources around Kent County that can help support families through this challenging time.
Under the Resources tab on the Parent University website, you can also find a link to the GRPS Student Handbook, which contains information about attendance, grading scales, uniforms, behavioral expectations, and more.
The goal of distance learning during the current pandemic is to keep GRPS’ students, teachers, and families safe and healthy. Regardless of whether your child is currently enrolled in the 100% distance learning classroom or a hybrid in-person student, ensure they are practicing safe hand hygiene, and remind them to cover their sneezes and coughs. If your student is currently learning remotely and gets sick, contact your school’s secretary and notify your child’s teacher(s) as you would normally. If your child is a hybrid learner, keep them at home when they are sick.
Check out these amazing family guides from Attendance Works!
- Attendance Success in Elementary School (English)
- Attendance Success in Elementary School (Spanish)
- Attendance Success in Middle/High School (English)
- Attendance Success in Middle/High School (Spanish)
If you are looking for additional information about Attendance, please refer to Attendance Works Handouts for Families.