September is National Attendance Awareness Month: Attend Today; Achieve Tomorrow. Research has proven that there is a high correlation between school attendance and academic performance and success, while absence from school is often the greatest single cause of poor performance and achievement. In 2015, the Santa Fe ISD board of trustees approved a policy that requires all students in SFISD to have 95 percent attendance during the school year in order to be “prepared to achieve and succeed” in school and life. To support our student attendance initiative, each campus will provide incentives to students to encourage student attendance.
Learning is a progressive activity; each day’s lessons build upon those of the previous day(s). Reading the material and completing work independently does not compensate for the loss of insight gained during class discussion or the loss of competency acquired through explanation or supervised drill. Many classes use lectures, discussions, demonstrations, experiments and participation as part of the daily learning activities, and these cannot be made up by those who are absent. Regular student participation in daily classroom activities plays a significant role in a student’s school success.
Students with good attendance records generally achieve higher grades and enjoy school more. Having a good education will help to give your child the best possible start in life. Regular school attendance patterns encourage the development of other responsible patterns of behavior. Students who develop an “on the job” attitude toward school will be more desirable to future employers. A child who does not attend school regularly will be unlikely to keep up with the work. The more students miss school, the lower their grades; the lower their grades, the less they want to stay in school; the less they want to stay in school, the more likely they will drop out of school.
Parents must model the value of education, including the importance of regular attendance. Please make sure that your child goes to school regularly and arrives on time so they establish good habits that will carry throughout life. If your child starts missing school, work with the school to ensure that all stakeholders work together to communicate to your child the importance of regular attendance. Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of her missing school. If your child is ill or must miss school for some other reason, contact the school immediately. If you ask for homework, make sure your child completes it. Whenever possible, arrange family vacations during school holidays so that children miss as little school as possible. Take an active interest in your child’s schoolwork and be involved in your child’s campus as much as possible — your child will value school more when you do.
Remember, regular attendance is necessary for success in school and life. Help ensure that your child has the best opportunity for success by making sure that she is in school every day. Together, we can work together to guarantee success for all our students.
Patti Hanssard is the assistant superintendent for human resources and the public relations officer for SFISD.