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Posted September 11, 2017

Every Day in Every Class Matters

During Attendance Awareness Month, Superintendent Reedy outlines the district's plan for monitoring absences, staying in touch with parents, and helping students and families appreciate the value of getting to class on time, every day.

Tacked to the wall of each grade-level hallway at Van Buren Middle School is an attendance pledge signed by students. The laminated posters in both English and Spanish hang near the bathrooms where students are sure to see them every day.

By signing the pledge, students have agreed to:  

  • Tell their teacher if they’re having a hard time with school work.
  • Talk to their parents, guardian, counselor or an adult friend if they’re having personal problems that keep them from going to school.
  • Go to bed on time so they can wake up on time.
  • Make time to hang out with their friends after school so they don’t miss class.
  • Do their best each and every day.

I’ll tell you what, if we can get all of our students to do this, we will be well on our way to real success.

As I’ve mentioned, attendance is one of my Big 5 priorities this school year, for good reason. Our students can’t succeed if they’re not in school, so we have to do a better job of monitoring absences, staying in touch with parents, and helping students and families appreciate the value of getting to class on time, every day.

That’s what they’re doing at Van Buren Middle School. That’s what they’re doing at schools throughout the district. On Sept. 8, teams from nearly three dozen of our schools are taking part in an attendance conference in partnership with Mission: Graduate where they are learning to target students at risk of chronic absenteeism and strategies for improving attendance. These teams worked on developing a School Attendance Success Plan and work with resource providers to address attendance problems.

We’ve also developed a School Attendance Performance Framework to help schools identify attendance issues and implement innovative strategies. The APS Attendance Promotion and Truancy Prevention Unit is providing school-level technical assistance, coaching, professional development and support tools.

We can’t reduce absences if we don’t understand why students aren’t making it to school, so we are working on improving connections between students, families and the school, and we’re developing skills and resources needed to succeed.

Attendance. Attachment. Achievement. That’s what it’s all about.

September is Attendance Awareness Month, so this is a good time to talk about our efforts. But this is a yearlong commitment to improving school attendance.

Tiered Approach to School Attendance

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