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Posted: September 7, 2018

The Value of Being in School Every Day

"Once we get our students in the classroom, we can help them succeed. It's everyone's job to get them there," Supt. Reedy writes in her weekly message.

I love my job, I truly do. I feel blessed to be the leader of such a wonderful team, and I believe with all of my heart that the work we do matters. We change lives, after all.

That said, I have to admit there are days when it is hard to get to work. You know what I mean. Sometimes you just are not at the top of your game. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, or you don’t feel well. Maybe you are dealing with a personal issue. Perhaps you are dreading a tedious task or want to avoid a confrontational colleague.

It happens to the best of us.

It happens to our students.

What we know as adults is that things tend to get better when you push through. More often than not, once you wipe the sleep from your eyes and get something in your stomach, you are better prepared to take on the day’s challenges, especially when you have a strong support team.

We provide that support for our students, who need to be convinced of the value of being in school every day. That's their job.

But like so many of us, our students face difficulties in their lives that make it hard sometimes to focus on the job. It may be tough for students to get to class on time if they slept on a relative’s couch or in a motel; if they listened to their parents fight all night; if they are dreading a presentation or test because they feel unprepared or don’t understand the topic; if they fear being bullied or chastised or demeaned.

On the other hand, we know that daily attendance is important for a student’s school success. Just missing two days a month means a child may fall behind, fail a subject, or even drop out. It can take three days to catch up from a one-day absence!

Families are responsible for getting students to school on time, every day, but we play a vital role as well. We need to make our students feel welcome. We need to get them the assistance they need to be successful, whether that means a hot meal or extra tutoring or social services. We need to address bullies and threats. We need to help students deal with peer pressure and social isolation because we know that feeling afraid or lonely can lead to skipping or missing school.

We also need to make sure we are accountable for all of our students and that we record absences on a timely basis so that our data is accurate and up-to-date. This allows us to alert parents, social workers and others when students don't show up as expected as well as to intervene when we start seeing indications of a problem.

Whether you’re a teacher or custodian, counselor or nurse, principal or support staff, you can provide support, seek help for those in need, keep your eyes and ears open for potential issues that may be keeping students from attending school on a regular basis.

Once we get our students in the classroom, we can help them succeed. It's everyone's job to get them there.

September is Attendance Awareness Month. Make yourself aware so that you can make a difference in the lives of our students.

I know you do, and I appreciate you for that.