Changes to Attendance Policy (2018-19)

Attendance gaps lead to achievement gaps

Attendance Policy Changes

Regular school attendance is one of the most consistent predictors of a student’s academic success. Research has shown that students with regular attendance have higher grades, higher reading levels, higher test scores and better overall learning outcomes. Missing too much school, even during the elementary years, can significantly hurt academic performance and growth.

Missing more than 10% of the school year (18 days or more, or just two days every month) is considered “chronic absenteeism,” and it can have significant consequences for children in all grade levels. In the United States, it is estimated that 5-7 million students are chronically absent. It is clear that chronic absenteeism is a national issue, affecting school districts across the country.

Because regular attendance often leads to greater academic success and lower dropout rates, we are increasing our efforts to prevent chronic absenteeism at Cairo-Durham. Over the summer, we evaluated our recent attendance data and began developing a plan to improve student attendance. Below is our attendance data from the 2017-2018 school year as well as our targets for 2018-2019:

attendance data and targets

 

In recognition of the above facts, Cairo-Durham and other school districts throughout Greene County recently participated in discussions about the issue of school attendance. This includes the negative impacts that poor attendance and chronic absenteeism have on overall student success.

To address increasing concerns about chronic absenteeism, the Greene County Truancy Task Force was formed. The task force—which is made up of school personnel, Greene County Mental Health Center staff and support agencies, and the Greene County District Attorney’s Office—understands that attendance is extremely important to the academic growth of children and their development of positive attitudes toward school.

The result of this collaborative work is a county-wide attendance policy that was developed to address the issues of school avoidance and school truancy throughout Greene County. Cairo-Durham, along with many school districts in the region, has adopted a Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy designed to meet the following goals:

  • Set the expectation that students need to attend school every day for the full day
  • Instill cooperation among all members of the school community, inclusive of parents, students, teachers, administrators and support staff, to uphold the expectation of regular school attendance
  • Recognize that regular class participation and contact between students and teachers are essential parts of the educational process
  • Provide for the early identification of attendance problems, as well as the implementation of effective methods of intervention to reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates
  • Identify the daily whereabouts of every student for safety and other reasons
  • Verify that individual students are complying with education laws relating to compulsory attendance
  • Calculate the District's average daily attendance for state aid and school improvement purposes

We all play a critical role in maintaining positive school attendance. Effective implementation of an attendance policy requires all participants to be informed and to understand fully its purpose, procedures, and the consequences of non-compliance. To ensure that students, parents, teachers and administrators are notified of and understand this policy, the following notifications shall take place if a student reaches a certain absence threshold during the school year:

# of Absences

Action/Notification

10-19

Official Attendance Letter Home & Administrator Contact

Creation of Attendance File

Determination of Intervention Steps

20-29

Official Attendance Letter Home & Administrator Contact

Update and Review of Attendance File

Determination of Intervention Steps

 

Copy of Attendance File sent to the District Attorney

If deemed appropriate, a copy of the student’s complete attendance file will be sent to the Greene County District Attorney for review. This is a discretionary decision determined case by case.

 

Administrator Contact

Review of case for possible educational neglect

Determination of Intervention

Copy of Attendance File sent to the District Attorney (if deemed appropriate)

30+

Official Attendance Letter Home

 

Notification of District Attorney

A copy of of the student’s attendance file will be sent to the District Attorney for review.

 

District Attorney Intervention

At this time, the District Attorney will determine if the parent and/or guardian is criminally liable for not sending a child to school. Possible outcomes include: 3 Year Probation or 1 Year in Jail; Class A Misdemeanor - Criminally Liable for Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

 

The full Attendance Policy is available for download (PDF). If you have questions, please contact your school’s main office.

Get tips to help you improve your child’s attendance and support their academic growth here:

The above resources contain helpful information for not only parents and families, but also for local businesses, elected officials, healthcare providers, early education providers and more. We will be sharing more resources and continuing our attendance campaign throughout the school year. Together, we can help our students develop positive attitudes toward school.