Is your child in school today? The Alabama State Department of Education reports that in the 2013-2014 school year, there were more than seven million absences in public schools across the state. That’s more than 49 million hours of missed instruction. September has been proclaimed Alabama Attendance Awareness Month, according to the state Department of Education, in support of the national campaign. The National Attendance Awareness Month was established last September to raise awareness of the link between attendance and academic achievement.
Poor attendance can start early, the state Department of Education said, and can affect a student’s performance throughout his or her scholastic career. Chronic absenteeism is considered missing 10 percent – 18 to 20 days – of school or more in a year. Research indicates that attendance is a major indicator for students eventually dropping out of school. Missing just two days a month can predict lower test scores and poor retention of knowledge in later years.
Attendance works, a national organization dedicated to improving attendance, offers materials, research and success stories about reducing chronic absence on its website. The group also offers technical assistance to school districts and communities.