Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Did You Know - September is "Attendance Awareness Month"

Did you know that the month of September is national "Attendance Awareness Month"?  Of course, our goal here within the Gorham Schools is that every month is attendance awareness month - but sometimes it's good to emphasize the importance of attendance just a little more - it IS just THAT IMPORTANT!

Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student's academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school.  Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life!

We realize that some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances.  But, we also know that when students miss too much school - regardless of the reason - it can cause them to fall behind academically.  Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent - which means missing 18 or more days over the course of an entire school year.

Did you know that research shows:

*  Children chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade?

*  By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school.

*  By 9th-grade good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th-grade test scores!


As many as 7.5 million students nationwide miss nearly a month of school every year, excused and unexcused absences that can erode student achievement.  Schools across the country are launching new community-wide commitments to encourage good attendance by students in order to counteract the potentially negative consequences of doing nothing to address this important issue.  The Gorham Schools are committed to keeping good attendance at the forefront of what we do for our students.  In addition to supporting our students in lots of ways and in making sure that our classrooms are fun and engaging places to be so students want to come to school, we have also created communications protocols that make sure parents of students who have been absent for a certain number of days get a personal contact by their child's teacher just saying that we care and that your student was missed (and they truly are).  Often, just checking in is all that it takes to show that we care - and caring is what we certainly do best!

As parents/guardians, you can do your part as well to ensure that your child attends school every day and arrives on time.  Here are a few practical tips to help support regular attendance:

*  Make sure your children keep a regular bedtime and establish a morning routine.
*  Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
*  Ensure your children go to school every day unless they are truly sick.
*  Avoid scheduling vacations or doctor's appointments when school is in session.
*  Talk to teachers and counselors for advice if your children feel anxious about going to school.
*  Develop backup plans for getting to school if something comes up.  Call on a family member, neighbor , or another parent to take your child to school if needed.

Here is a link to some more great resources to check out if you get a chance:


Parent Flyer for Middle School and High School Students:

Parent Flyer for Elementary School Students:

Bottom line - ATTENDANCE COUNTS!  Let's make sure to start this school year off on the right foot for all students!

If you have questions, or would like to share your ideas for helping improve attendance, please feel free to reach out to building principals - we are always interested in hearing from you!


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