September is Attendance Awareness Month, and Polk County Public Schools is joining educators across the nation to encourage healthy attendance habits.
The early school years are essential for laying a foundation for strong attendance and academic success, according to the Attendance Works organization.
Nationwide, as many as one out of seven students are chronically absent, which means they are missing on average two or more days a month, or 10 percent or more of school days over the academic year.
Chronic absenteeism can knock students off track and put them at risk academically. Maintaining good attendance from an early age is important for developing reading skills, passing important courses and staying on the path to graduation.
“Attendance is more than just coming to school. Attendance is establishing a lifelong routine for future success in everyday life,” says Shannon Gillespie, PCPS’ senior manager of social work services. “We want our students to be the best they can be. Coming to school provides them with the social, emotional, and academic success they need to thrive in our community.”
PCPS has partnered with Polk Vision on a joint campaign called Strive for Less Than 5, which encourages five or fewer absences per school year. See our related video at youtube.com/watch?v=wpB0jJhS25M.
In addition, here are some basic tips parents can use to improve their child’s attendance:
– Establish a regular routine by keeping a regular bedtime
– Prepare clothes and backpacks the night before
– Only keep children home if they are truly sick
– Have a backup plan for getting to school
– Avoid scheduling appointments and trips when school is in session
For more information, please visit AttendanceWorks.org.