Every day matters.
At every level in a student’s education, time spent in the classroom is vital. Children who attend school each day have a better chance of succeeding in school than those who do not. Missing 10 percent or 18 days makes it more difficult to develop early reading skills for young kids. In middle and high school, those 18 days absent are a big interruption in their studies and can cause disinterest when they fall behind. The 10 percent/two days a month threshold is chronic absenteeism.
The Pine Bush Central School District is dedicating its efforts to reduce chronic absenteeism by 3 percent this school year. It’s even part of our board of education goals! We are enlisting our parents and guardians to join us in this initiative. On our end we will:
- Encourage students to be present every day
- Disseminate attendance data, stressing the importance of regular attendance
- Maintain a supportive, engaging environment
- Communicate with parents, guardians and students regularly regarding attendance trends
- Monitor attendance data and report it out
- Acknowledge students with improved attendance
- Recognize students who maintain high attendance rates
- Counsel at-risk students
Absences add up quickly and can have important repercussions
Missing just two days of school each month adds up to chronic absenteeism. That’s 20 days of school work missed – the equivalent of a full month of classes.
In younger grades, students who miss just two days of school each month are more likely to fall behind in core subjects – reading, writing and math. It can also affect their ability to build friendships.
- Students who fall behind in reading by first grade are much less likely to read on grade level by third grade.
- Students who can’t read at grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
In middle and high school, chronic absenteeism is an indicator of future issues in education:
- By sixth grade, absenteeism is one of three early warning indicators that influence whether students will graduate from high school
- By high school, absenteeism is a greater predictor of graduation than eighth grade scores.
What parents and guardians can do
Taking a team approach to improving attendance definitely helps. Our teachers and staff reinforce the importance of attending school every day and make it a place students want to be. Parents and guardians commit to making changes where needed, ensuring that school is the priority.
- Establish regular bedtime routines and morning routines
- Let your child know the importance of regular attendance
- Discuss with your child how he/she feels about school
- Be consistent with only keeping your child home when he/she is really sick
- Make doctor appointments after school hours
- Plan vacations for when school is not in session
- Chart your child’s attendance and reward him/her for improvements
- Develop a back-up plan to get your child to school should an emergency arise
All absences count
Of course there are occasions when children must be absent from school. These are excused absences. Parents and guardians must inform the school via note, email or phone call when their child is absent. These excused absences include:
- Illness or injury
- Family emergency
- Death of a family member
- Doctor or dental appointments that cannot be scheduled before or after school hours
- Religious observance
Even excused absences add up and take away from valuable instructional time. Students who attend school at least 95 percent of the days are more likely to be at or above proficiency on all reading and math benchmarks. That is less than nine absences in any school year.
Unexcused absences occur when students miss school for reasons not accepted by the school. These include:
- Family vacations
- Missing the school bus
- Sleeping late
- Visiting a family member
Know when your child must stay home
Having dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020, we stress that your child must stay home when they are sick. Here is a quick guide to help you in the decision-making process.
Please be in contact with your child’s teacher to keep them updated on your child’s condition and to get classwork and not fall behind, if your child is well enough to do it.
We encourage all to strive to be present every day for school. Remember that being in school and learning should be the goal for all students throughout the district. We are committed to ensuring all students attend school daily, and we thank you for your partnership in helping students realize every day counts.