October is "Attendance Awareness" Month at Guadalupe
GUADALUPE CHARTER SCHOOL IS A GREAT PLACE TO BE EVERY DAY!
The students at Guadalupe will be extra diligent to make it to school on time this month because, if their attendance is excellent, they will earn a class party at the end of October. It's because October is Attendance Awareness Month at Guadalupe. If the entire class shows up for a certain number of days, then the class gets an attendance party. And, of course, everyone loves a party!
For the month of September, Guadalupe Charter School had ten students with perfect attendance (perfect means no absences and no tardiness). Pictured above is Guadalupe's Attendance Coordinator, Veronica Salazar, and eight of Guadalupe's Perfect Attendance Champions.
Why Should Attendance Have Its Own Month?
Why is attendance a big deal? Well, it’s a big problem for schools across the nation. It’s estimated that 5-7.5 million American students are at risk academically each year because they are chronically absent. Chronic absence is defined as missing 10% or more of scheduled school days. This includes excused absences, because students can’t learn if they aren’t in class, no matter the reason they are absent.
Isn’t Attendance an Individual Problem?
Attendance is important for the whole school. Why? Because chronic absences create academic problems, not just for those students who are missing the class time (because, as we’ve already said, students can’t learn if they aren't here) but also for the other students in the class because of the classroom “churn” that comes from high levels of absence. This churn interferes with the teacher’s ability to meet the learning needs of all of the students.
How is Attendance Important to Student Success?
Research shows that, starting as early as the Pre-K years, chronic absence Can have a negative impact on academic achievement. For example, by the third grade, students who have poor attendance are less likely to be reading at grade level. By sixth grade chronic absence is a warning sign that student may drop out of high school. And, by the ninth grade, it’s a better indicator of a student’s likelihood of dropping out than the student’s eight grade test scores.
What is Attendance Like at Guadalupe?
Guadalupe’s average daily attendance is around 95%. That’s a very good number, but it’s a number that conceals a disturbing fact: 3-5% of Guadalupe’s students may be described as chronically absent. In a student body of approximately 300 students, that means as many as 15 of our students may be suffering academically because of their absences from school. And that is definitely NOT a good number.
What is Guadalupe Doing to Address the Issue of Attendance?
Our secret weapon in the fight against chronic absenteeism is Veronica Salazar, Guadalupe’s Attendance Coordinator. Veronica tracks those students who are chronically absent or tardy. She mentors these students and talks to their parents about the importance of good attendance to their student’s academic success. Veronica is part of Guadalupe’s Attendance Team, which has a weekly W.A.R. (Weekly Attendance Review) meeting, to review the school’s weekly attendance numbers and to discuss any concerns that may exist. The Other members of the Attendance Team are Kyle Price, Guadalupe’s United Way Coordinator, and Megan Daybell, Guadalupe’s Social Worker. The team has a whole array of tools at its disposal to help students and their families to understand the importance of good attendance.
What’s the Difference Between Chronic Absence and Good Old Fashioned Truancy?
Most parents and people in the community have no real understanding of the problem of chronic absenteeism. They assume that, since there are already extensive rules on the books about truancy, the problem is under control. But, the differences between truancy and chronic absenteeism are important. While truancy only counts unexcused absences and concerns itself with compliance with attendance rules, and relies primarily on legal and administrative solutions. Chronic absence, on the other hand, counts ALL absences: excused, unexcused, and suspensions. Moreover, it emphasizes the academic impact of the missed classroom time, and it makes use of community-based, positive solutions.
For more about how attendance impacts student and school performance, check out Attendance Works: