As K-12 schools throughout the nation and across our great state begin the new school year, educators are focusing their full efforts on increasing school attendance. Local school systems statewide are working to enhance the role of parents, and regional community outreach in ensuring all children make it to class every day and attend school consistently. There is a real focus on building and supporting regular school attendance.
September has officially been designated as School Attendance Awareness Month 2022
throughout our nation and in the Great State of Alabama. This year’s event theme is “Stay
Connected, Keep Learning!” Special emphasis is being placed on building greater student engagement, public awareness, and long-term family support for school attendance efforts.
Barriers in transportation, health issues, poor nutrition, and mental health concerns are leading
factors that often impact student attendance. A recent national survey revealed that chronic
absenteeism has more than doubled from pre-pandemic levels, with an estimated eight million
students missing too many school days!
Chronic absences in elementary schools can often lead to lower reading scores. By middle school, they can be a warning sign if a student is on track to fail key classes or eventually drop out of high school. Throughout this entire month, local school systems statewide will focus their efforts on helping all Alabama students, families, and communities take more impactful action. The goal is to ensure that every student is at school each day and fully achieving academically.
“Addressing student attendance is truly not a solo effort,” said Dr. Kay Atchison Warfield,
Alabama State Department of Education Prevention and Support Services Administrator.
“Working together, each of us – teachers, local schools, parents, and supportive residents of
Alabama’s local communities – must ensure a greater focus is placed on school attendance.
Every day that a student is not in school, is a day this child misses important opportunities to
gain experience, achieve, and grow.”
Chronic absenteeism - 18 days or more a year (excused and unexcused) places students at greater academic risk. Schools have the potential to support students’ positive mental health development by helping students engage in school activities, develop caring connections with teachers and other young people, and use appropriate critical thinking skills. *See the informative Bringing Attendance Home, parent video below:
Well-respected organizations like Attendance Works are providing valuable information and
data for local school system administrators to use in combatting truancy and chronic school
absences. This organization recently released:
• The NEW Toolkit: Showing Up Matters for R.E.A.L. - Attendance Awareness Campaign
This resource provides valuable information for schools, families, and community
organizations to support student attendance.
A recent study also found that students who are chronically absent in any year between eighth and 12th grade, are more than seven times more likely to drop out, compared to a student with better overall attendance.
To learn more about Alabama school attendance and awareness, contact Alabama State
Department of Education Administrator Kay Atchison Warfield or ALSDE Prevention and
Support Specialists Shenitra Dees and Tracy Goreed at 334-694-4717.