School attendance, student achievement go hand-in-hand
The research is clear: Students who attend school regularly are able to learn more, have fewer discipline problems, develop better study habits and often are more successful than students who do not.
The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District recognizes that good attendance is essential to academic success. Good attendance includes arriving to school on time and ready to learn. But too many students are at risk academically because they are missing too much school. When students are absent, they miss valuable educational experiences and opportunities.
Chronic absence is described as missing 10 percent of the school year — or 18 days — for any reason, excused or unexcused. That’s the point at which absenteeism begins to affect student performance, research shows.
“We want our students to be successful, and that starts with good attendance,” Superintendent of Schools Thomas Ciaccio said. “Beyond that, understanding the importance of good attendance helps instill character traits like persistence, resilience and responsibility. These are the traits that students will need in order to be successful when they go on to college or enter a career.”
Research shows that students – regardless of gender, socioeconomic status or ethnicity – fall behind academically when they are chronically absent. Children chronically absent in kindergarten show lower levels of achievement in math, reading and common knowledge during first grade. That same research shows that youngsters who continue on the path of chronic absence through first grade are less likely to read proficiently in third grade.
Studies have linked poor attendance at an early age with serious repercussions in later years. High school dropouts were found to have a history of negative behaviors, including higher levels of absenteeism throughout their childhood than those of high school graduates.
Behavioral benchmarks like attendance also indicate students’ chances of completing college and being ready for careers.
“When our schools graduate more students, on time, our communities and our economy are stronger. We have more people who are prepared for the workplace and more engaged in our community’s civic life,” Superintendent Ciaccio said.
To improve attendance rates, incentive-based initiatives have been implemented at each school building. Students with good attendance will receive recognition and receive perks including, but not limited to breakfast events at the elementary school, pizza and bowling parties at the middle school, and raffles at the high school.
The start of the school year is a particularly good time to focus on attendance. Parents who face challenges in getting their children to school are encouraged to reach out to their child’s teacher or principal.
“By paying attention to absences early in the school year and early in a child’s academic career, we can turn around attendance and achievement,” Superintendent Ciaccio said.