As we begin the new school year, I'd like to remind everyone about the importance of good school attendance. Students with regular attendance have higher achievement, are more engaged, are more positive, and have greater aspirations. When students miss just one day of school, they lose considerable opportunities to learn. Even though some school work can be completed at home, on-line, or as make-up assignments, the majority cannot be replicated. Class discussions, hands-on activities, and interaction with teachers and other students can only happen in school. Additionally, students with high absenteeism in school tend to miss work more often as adults which may result in a loss of employment. Good habits and attitudes built during childhood lead to good habits and attitudes in adulthood.
In the 2015-16 school year, about 20% of our Westbrook students were absent more than 15 days. While the majority of those students had excused absences because of illness, emergency, or other valid reasons, this is still a high percentage. Our Student Service Teams in all of our schools are ready to work with families to help students have better attendance at all age levels.
Some things families can do to encourage good attendance are:
• Set a regular bedtime and morning routine;
• Promote sleep and exercise;
• Avoid medical or other appointments during the school day. If an appointment cannot be avoided, bring your child to school late. Attending for part of a day is better than missing a whole day.
• Meet with teachers and school counselors if students seem anxious or nervous about school, social situations, tests, or other potential stressors.
• Talk with your children about their day. Ask questions and look for school work. By showing an interest in things happening at school, we encourage our kids to be more engaged.
Let’s all make regular school attendance a priority this year!