You may have seen signs posted around schools of a new program called Every School Day Counts. This program runs in conjunction with September being Attendance Awareness Month. The campaign is designed to provide communication resources to schools, engage school communities, and boost student attendance as soon as children enter school.
The Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools, Joseph A. Ovick, and District Attorney, Mark Peterson, are sponsoring the new campaign and are calling it Every School Day Counts: Attend today, achieve for a lifetime.
They believe with schools, parents and community involvement we can decrease chronic absences.
Studies show that attendance is especially important in kindergarten and first grade because this is when children learn to read and write. They also learn how to be good students in the early years.
Jennifer Whitney, Vice Principal at ,l, states, “Research shows it can take a student up to three days to make up assignments for missing one day of instruction. We want everyone to understand that every school day counts.”
Students shouldn’t miss more than 10% of school days per year. It also shows that good attendance will help students do well in high school and college. Students who have chronic absenteeism are at higher risk of delinquent behavior. 60% of all juvenile crime in Contra Costa County occurs during school hours. Juvenile crime costs California approximately $8.9 million per year.
According to Melissa Allison, a mother of a junior at Heritage High School, “School attendance for my children has always been considered a priority in our household. As parents, we understand the importance of teaching our children to be responsible and to take school seriously. We also know that the district suffers greatly, in a time when budget cuts are a burden, when attendance is low.”
The campaign suggests to only let your child stay home if they are truly sick, avoid medical appointments and vacations while school is in session and stress how important it is to attend school regularly.
When students are absent, the schools get fewer resources from the state. This gives schools less funding to pay for teachers and supplies. The campaign provides resources to schools to help teachers, parents and students know how important regular attendance is.
For more information, talk to your teacher or principal. There is also an online tool kit available for download which provides additional information.
You can also find more information at http://www.cocoschools.org/attendance
Written by Tami Wannamaker