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Attendance Awareness Month

Join us each September for School Attendance Awareness Month  

A number of parenting practices have been shown to reduce the odds of dropping out of school:

  • Having high aspirations for their children
  • Monitoring their children's school progress
  • Communicating with the school
  • Knowing the parents of their children's friends

School Attendance

Did you know:


  • 7.5 million students miss 10% of the school year nationwide? That's 135 million days total. That's why Every Day Counts!
  • Chronic absence in kindergarten = lower academic achievement through 5th grade.  Starting in kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Chronic absence affects all kids, not just the absent ones if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
  • Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) can make it harder to learn to read.
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two every few weeks.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.

Addressing chronic absenteeism is a key to improving graduation rates, increasing academic achievement, and giving young people the best chance at success in their life.

Everybody plays a role in ensuring children attend school regularly. Parents and families are essential partners in promoting good attendance because they have the bottom-line responsibility for making sure their children get to school every day.  Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school. Start building this habit in preschool, so they learn that going to school on time, every day, is important. Research shows that good attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work.

What you can do:

  • Set a regular bedtime and morning routine. 
  • Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
  • If your child seems reluctant to go to school, find out why and work with the teacher, administrator, school counselor, or afterschool provider to get them excited about going to school.  
  • Develop backup plans for getting to school if something comes up.  Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
  • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
  • Reach out for help if you are experiencing tough times (e.g. transportation, unstable housing, loss of a job, health problems) that make it difficult to get your child to school. Other parents, your child's teacher, principal, social worker, school nurse, afterschool providers, or community agencies can help you problem solve or connect you to a needed resource.
  • If your child is absent, work with the teacher to make sure he/she has an opportunity to learn and make up for the academics missed.

Ways to Help Middle and High School Students Stay on Track

  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day, and make that the expectation.
  • Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night's sleep.
  • Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.

Help your teen stay engaged

  • Find out if your child feels engaged in his classes and feels safe from bullies and other threats. Make sure he/she is not missing class because of behavioral issues and school discipline policies. If any of these are problems, work with your school.
  • Stay on top of your child's social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.
  • Encourage meaningful afterschool activities, including sports and clubs.

Communicate with the school

  • Know the school's attendance policy - incentives and penalties.
  • Talk to teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior.  These could be tied to something going on at school.
  • Check on your child's attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.
  • Ask for help from school officials, afterschool programs, other parents or community agencies if you're having trouble getting your child to school.


Parents can make a difference!

What you can do in your community:



  • Get the data: Ask your school and district to calculate chronic absence rates and share them with parents, teachers, and principals.
  • Identify barriers to attendance: Work with your school to find out from parents and students what prevents them from getting to school.
  • Make a plan: Encourage your school to make a plan and partner with community agencies to address identified attendance barriers.
  • Educate parents: Help all parents in your school understand the importance of attendance and who to call for the health, transportation or social services resources they need.