Our Family Resource Educational Assistant has resources and tips to help families struggling with attendance.
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Attendance matters just as much in kindergarten as it does in high school. Here are a few things we know about why this is so important:
- Children with good attendance are more likely to be successful in school.
- Children who are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of third grade (which is an important benchmark).
Overall, attending school and arriving on time each day make a significant difference in your student's future.
- Students who are absent miss out on key instruction time and have a harder time making up assignments and tests.
- Being late means that your student starts the day behind.
- Both scenarios can mean more work for teachers, who may have to repeat instructions or make special accommodations for test retakes, etc.
- This can also take away from instruction time for the students who arrived on time.
The State of Oregon asks schools to aim for a 95% or higher attendance rate every day. Unexcused absences will count against that rate and will prompt contact from the school when they start to add up.
Because it's so important, we are asking all families to help us make sure your students are in school as much as they possibly can be.
- Of course, we know illness happens, and we don't want students in school who are seriously ill.
- Families are asked to please call the school's attendance secretary to alert the school of an excused absence. This can be done up to three days after the day in question.
If your student has unexcused absences, your school will contact you:
- Attendance calls: The attendance system will make automated calls regarding all students with unexcused absences.
- Letters home: Schools will also be contacting families when their student may be at risk of being chronically absent or tardy. The hope is that this information can help families to understand how these absences or tardies can add up.
Practical Tips for Getting Your Child to School on Time
- Make sure your children keep a regular bedtime and establish a morning routine.
- Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
- Ensure your children go to school every day unless they are too sick (for example, if they have a fever over 101 degrees or they are vomiting).
- Avoid scheduling vacations or doctor’s appointments when school is in session.
- Talk to your child’s teacher for advice if your child feels anxious about going to school.
- Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, neighbor, or another parent to take your child to school.
Tardy: Any arrival after the start of school is considered a tardy. Any student leaving prior to the end of the school day is also considered tardy. Tardies can be considered "excused" in cases of student illness, death in the family or medical appointments with a doctor's note. (Anything more than 15 minutes late is considered "excessively tardy."
Excused Absence: Reasons for absence that the district considers to be "excused" include severe illness, death or funerals of family members, school-sponsored activities, or medical or dental appointments with a doctor's note. (Note that if at all possible, we ask that you try to schedule these appointments outside of the school day or on early release days. The district allows 2 hours for a standard appointment.) Students who are absent three or more consecutive days due to illness are required to provide a doctor's note.
Unexcused Absence: Reasons that are considered "unexcused" included minor illness, haircuts, birthdays or other family celebrations, shopping or errands, and yes, also vacations.
Chronic Absence: The state of Oregon defines chronic absenteeism as missing 10 percent or more school days, whether the absences are excused or unexcused.
Truant: Under Oregon law, eight unexcused one-half day (or more) absences in any four-week period during the school year constitutes truancy. Parents who fail to ensure compliance can face a fine.
Severe Illness: This is subject to a parent's judgment, of course, but typically students with a high fever, or who are vomiting, etc., would be considered severely ill and should be kept at home.