Research has shown that students who attend school regularly and on-time are far more successful in school than students who do not. Also, students who have chronic attendance problems have a higher incidence of dropping out of school. Studies have shown that students who receive a high school diploma earn over a half a million dollars more during their lifetime than students who do not graduate. In a recent Time Magazine article, it stated that a person earning a high school diploma will earn an estimated 1.4 million dollars in lifetime earnings while someone earning less than a high school diploma will earn approximately nine hundred thousand dollars.
Students who attend school regularly also have a better opportunity to pass required state standardized tests, such as, the IREAD and ISTEP tests. Those who are frequently absent fall behind in their classes and the makeup work requires independent learning instead of teacher led instruction. This situation can create a drain on future classroom learning as teaching and learning is progressive and absent students requires more individual help, slowing down instruction. Many teachers use a combination of learning styles in their teaching such as, lectures, discussions, and cooperative learning. Other classes, such as, science may conduct lab experiments that cannot be recreated at home. Absent students miss out on these types of activities every day they do not attend.
School attendance is also important non-academically because it gives students opportunities to refine and develop the five critical values that Portage Township Schools promote: being honest, respectful, responsible, fair, and compassionate. Poor attendance is one of the number one complaints of employers, so starting strong, positive habits need to start early. Also, daily attendance help students build their developmental assets that help make each student a strong, healthy citizen in our community.
Successful school attendance involves not only the student, but parents as well. Patterns in proper school attendance are formed at an early age and it is important for both students and parents to develop daily routines that foster attendance success. First and foremost, a parent or guardian needs to set an example and show the child that the parent has a commitment to education and it is important and a priority in the household. Let the student know that attendance at school every day is an expectation not an option; this will help build responsibility for now and the future. Try to limit the amount of school missed because of illness by scheduling doctor appointments after school. For illness, keep the student at home only in cases of contagious or severe sickness. With younger students, set up a regular bedtime and morning routine, with older students, make sure they are receiving at least eight hours of sleep per night. In both cases, plan ahead by laying out the next day’s clothing and set alarm clocks early enough to provide ample time to prepare for school. Check the school calendar and schedule vacations during break periods.
Most of all, it is very important to be proactive in the educational life of your child. Ask them how his school day went, pay close attention to both positive and negative information, ask about any homework that has to be completed, and stay in touch with teachers. The success of your student academically now and socially in the future depends on regular attendance. So, get up and get going-your child’s school is waiting and ready to help you build a positive, healthy, citizen with great work habits!
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.