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The important of school attendance

Every Minute Counts … Every Student Counts

Daily attendance is one of the most important factors in whether or not a student will succeed in school. Students are faced today with unprecedented changes within the field of public education so it’s essential they are present to receive the instruction they need to meet or exceed those standards. If a student is going to be absent or tardy, parents are expected to contact the child’s school directly the morning of the absence.

View attendance policies taken from each school student handbook:

teacher in class

SCHOOL: You have to be in it to win it!

Source: Parent Today, Capital Region BOCES Communications Service

Research shows that students who attend school regularly learn more, have fewer discipline problems, acquire better study habits and are generally more successful than students who do not. Missing even an hour of school can be a learning opportunity lost.

Good attendance practices are formed early in life — so parents can set a positive example at home and make family choices that will help children arrive at school each day ready to learn.

Here are some ideas:

Show your children you, too, are bit by the "learning bug"

When children are young, parents' interest and enthusiasm in learning new things can be "catchy." Bone up on what your kids are learning in school so you can ask questions and offer additional information. Attending open houses and parent-teacher conferences will give you information to talk with your children about. (For example: "Your teacher said you planted flower seeds in class. How do you care for them? Have they sprouted yet? Would you like to start a flower garden in our yard? Let's go to the library and get some books on growing flowers.")

Set consistent waking and bedtime schedules — and stick to them

This may be hard to do coming off of summer vacation, but in order for children ages 5 to 12 to perform well in school, they need between 9 ½ and 11 hours of sleep each night. Going to bed and waking at the same times each day — including weekends — will help ensure that children not only get enough sleep, but have plenty of time to eat a nutritious breakfast, gather their school supplies and get to school on time.

Get your children organized

A sure way for kids to be late for school is to have them running around in the morning trying to find their backpacks, sneakers or yesterday's homework assignment. Designate a space in your home for your kids to store their school bags and supplies, coats and other outdoor accessories so getting ready for school is less of a chore. You could also create a "to-do" list with "night-before" tasks (i.e., put homework, permission slips, lunch money, etc. in book bag) and "morning" tasks (make bed, brush teeth, put lunch in book bag, pack gym clothes, etc.). It makes for a much easier school day if children — and parents alike — start the day in a calm manner.

Ensure your children attend a full day of school

As much as possible, try to schedule medical and other appointments during non-school hours. Plan family vacations during school recesses so your children are not missing important academic lessons.

Occasional 'sick' days have negative side effects on your child’s education

If you think it's OK for your child to occasionally miss school "just because," you might want to consider the following statistics:

  • Students who are chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are less likely to read proficiently in 3rd grade
  • As early as 6th grade, missing 18 or more days of school in a year – or roughly 2 days per month – puts a child's high school graduation at risk.
  • An estimated 5 million to 7.5 million students miss 18 or more days of school each year. That's about 10 to 15 percent of U.S. students.
  • 7,000 kids in this country drop out every school day – or one every 26 minutes


  • Attendance Works: "Elementary Schools Absenteeism."
  • Great Schools: "School Attendance: Issues to Consider."
  • National Center for Children in Poverty: "Present, Engaged, and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades."
  • Visit the attendance calculator at
  • The website — — is packed with resources and ideas to help address absenteeism issues.