2019 Jan 30: RES Student Attendance

During the winter months, we unfortunately have a higher risk of sickness that always has an impact on student attendance and learning. This week Ms. Alesha Eoff, Rockdale Elementary Principal, has the opportunity to share the importance of good student attendance, and tips to help insure your child receives a high quality education by being in school.

As we enter into the second semester, we face the challenge of keeping our students healthy so that they are able to regularly attend school.  Students who regularly attend school have been shown to achieve at higher levels than students who do not have regular attendance. Research shows that attendance plays an integral role in student achievement.

Chronic absenteeism is detrimental at every grade level, but it is especially concerning during the early elementary formative years. Research shows that students who are chronically absent during early elementary grades, when class time is mainly focused on developing the foundations for academic success through math and reading skills, are less likely to be reading on grade level by third grade. It’s difficult for students to build their skills and make adequate progress if they are frequently absent.  Frequent absences result in students falling behind, and produce gaps in the child’s learning. Missing even one or two days can put a student behind in their learning.  This can be not only hurt a child’s future academic success, but may also increase a student’s likelihood of dropping out of high school.  The attendance rate is important because students are more likely to succeed in academics when they attend school consistently.

Another factor that we monitor closely is tardies.  Our students are expected to be in their classrooms ready to learn at 7:50.  At the elementary, we provide breakfast for all students, and if a student comes in late, he or she may miss the opportunity to have breakfast with their class.  When a child comes into class late, especially elementary age children, it throws off their routine. They are often scrambling to find their homework folders, locate assignments, and get settled into class.  This can be avoided by making sure that students arrive on time, and are ready to begin their day at 7:50.

Along with tardies, we also closely monitor students who are taken out of school prior to our dismissal time.  We strongly encourage you to avoid making appointments prior to dismissal. Our learning time is from the time the bell rings in the morning until the students dismiss in the afternoon.  When a child is continually pulled out of the classroom to leave early, it can cause them to miss getting their homework assignments, or cause them to have gaps in certain subjects, or in their learning interventions.  We provide classroom instruction and intervention in the afternoons, and when students are absent or are pulled early for errands or other events, then they are missing quality instructional time.

If your child is ill, we ask that you contact the school so that we can document the reason for their absence.  With flu season upon us, we want to make sure that our children are seen by doctors and that we keep all of our students healthy.  If your child is running fever, or shows signs of the flu, please make sure that they are seen by a doctor, and are fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school.  This will help to keep all of our students and teachers healthy this semester. Also, if the child goes to the doctor or has an appointment, we ask that you provide the school with a note so that we can place it in their file.   At school and at home, we want to encourage frequent hand washing with soap, coughing into their elbows, using tissues, and never drinking or eating after our friends. We appreciate your support in teaching these basic hygiene skills that we model at school.  

Our teachers do a wonderful job of creating a caring school climate for our students, and the students know they are missed when they are not at school.  To further encourage attendance, our teachers provide things such as stickers, treasure chest choices, and other classroom incentives for our students. We have even created classroom competitions to encourage the importance of attending school.  At this age, we know that it is parent support that plays the biggest role in our children having regular attendance. We ask that you work with us to provide our children with the best opportunities to learn and grow so that all of our kids are successful.