In today’s fast paced classroom, it is more important than ever for children to attend school every day. When children miss school, they cannot learn, and their opportunities disappear. Research is clear; students who attend school regularly do better academically and are more likely to establish work habits that help them succeed in life and work.
The Auburn Enlarged City School District is committed to reducing chronic absenteeism district-wide and to convey the importance of consistent school attendance within our community. To help with this, we launched a strategic attendance initiative at the beginning of the school year to coincide with New York State’s Every Student Present campaign. Every Student Present is a public awareness campaign developed by the Council on Children and Families, and it is designed to help families, school leaders, and communities understand the importance of consistent school attendance and the impact of absences on students’ learning, especially young students.
Since the start of the school year, all of our schools have been promoting good school attendance and working with students and families that are struggling with it. At the junior high and high school, teachers meet each week to discuss attendance issues and relay any concerns to the school counselors who monitor attendance. Weekly meetings with the school’s social worker, school counselors, school psychologist, principal, and assistant principals are held to brainstorm ways to help students with chronic absenteeism. The principal schedules meetings with parents of students who are chronically absent, and in some cases, home visits are made. At the high school, students who have moderate or above school attendance concerns are referred to FAST, which is a program designed for quick access to home and community-based services for families
and children who are experiencing significant problems at home, in school, and in the community.
Herman Avenue Elementary is calling home to have a conversation with parents when students miss multiple days of school, excused or not. Owasco Elementary is celebrating good attendance in the classrooms and handing out quarterly awards. Casey Park Elementary is incentivizing students each month with a raffle to win breakfast with the principal and assistant principal. Seward Elementary has a competition for best attendance going between grade levels and awards prizes to the winners each week.
Genesee Elementary also has a competition between grade levels for best attendance, and the winning grade level gets a pizza party at the end of the month courtesy of the Genesee Parent Teacher Partnership. Furthermore, Genesee has been promoting its “Attendance Counts!” board showcasing grade level attendance percentages on its Twitter and Facebook pages in order to keep parents informed of the initiative.
In the month of December, all of our schools will be implementing an attendance incentive program called STRIVE FOR 95. The goal is to reach a 95% or better attendance rate for the month of December in each of our schools. Our students need to be in school so they can get the most out of many exciting educational opportunities. STRIVE FOR 95 will consist of classroom discussions, awards for best class attendance, and a contest for classroom posters that send the message to our students to be in school daily. In addition, there will be information for parents regarding school attendance and how it impacts families today.
School absences are not an issue which can be solely dealt with by the schools. School attendance requires the support of both parents and the school community if it is to be successfully addressed. Join us in our month long goal to STRIVE FOR 95. Please ensure your children get to school every day in December to help us meet our goal.
Thank you for your anticipated support.
Vice President, Board of Education
Auburn Enlarged City School District