Encouraging School Attendance in Secondary School

School attendance is a strong predictor of who passes their course work and who graduates on time.

Parents have a huge influence on students when it comes to attendance.  Attending school regularly helps students feel better about school—and themselves. It is important for you to reinforce the idea that going to school on time, every day is important. 

Absences Add Up in Middle and High School.   Missing 18 days in a school year or 2 days every month equals lower test scores and retention in later grades.
AttendanceWorks, a national and state initiative, promotes better policy and practice around school attendance.

Did you know?

  • Regular attendance in 8th grade is a better predictor of on-time graduation than 8th grade test scores. 
  • Nearly 90 percent of freshmen who miss less than a week of school per semester graduate on time.
  • Studies have consistently found that chronic absenteeism is among the strongest predictor of students dropping out of high school, and that freshman who miss 10 or more days per semester fail at least 2 classes.
  • Studies have consistently found that chronic absenteeism is among the strongest predictor of students dropping out of high school, and on average, freshmen who miss 10 or more days per semester fail at least 2 classes which means they must repeat 9th grade.

Missing Classes Puts Graduation at Risk

The Consortium on Chicago School Research provided a report entitled "Freshman Year: The Make-it or Break-it Year" with information on how student behavior during their freshman year in high school impacts graduation. According to the report, nearly 90% of freshmen who miss less than a week of school per semester graduate on time. As can be seen on the chart below, the graduation rate declines steadily as students miss longer periods of school each semester.

Bar Chart titled “Missing Classes Puts Graduation at Risk.” Chart shows the graduation rate declines steadily as students miss longer periods of school each semester.
Bar Graph - Missing Classes Puts Graduation at Risk

How to Encourage School Attendance in Secondary School

  • Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.
  • Talk to your child about why going to school every day is important unless they are sick.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless she is truly sick.
  • Help your teen stay engaged by asking questions about what he is learning in school, using ParentVUE to check progress on assignments, and seeking help from teachers or tutors if necessary. Make sure teachers know how to contact you.
  • Get to know your child’s friends and listen when she talks about someone new, or stops talking about an old friend. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.
  • Encourage meaningful after-school activities, including sports and clubs. 
  • Know the school’s attendance policy
  • Check on your student’s attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.  
  • If your child seems reluctant to go to school, find out why and talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make her feel comfortable and excited about learning. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • Reach out to your child’s school counselor or social worker if you are experiencing tough times such as unstable housing, transportation or health problems.  
     

RETURNING AFTER AN EXTENDED ABSENCE

Students returning to school following an extended absence need support as they integrate back into classes and the social environment of school. Our school-based professionals, consisting of school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers, are available to work with you and other members of the school team to develop a plan for your child’s return to school following a chronic illness, short-term illness, mental health challenge, concussion, childbirth, or other medical condition.
Return to Learn

HOMEBOUND INSTRUCTION

Homebound instruction provides continuity between the classroom and home or healthcare facility for those students whose medical needs do not allow for school attendance. These services are considered temporary and are based on the premise that instruction should take place in the school setting to the fullest extent possible. All school-based interventions should be considered prior to referral for homebound.
Homebound Instruction

Absences Add Up

Attending school regularly helps students feel better about school—and themselves.