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Attendance/Challenge 5

CHALLENGE 5

The Gilroy Unified School District (GUSD) welcomes students back to school. Because regular school attendance is critical to high student achievement, it is imperative that every student attends school regularly – starting with the first day of the new school year.

Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, parents and families play an important role in making sure students get to school safely every day and in helping children understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.

 “We know that the issue of chronic absenteeism can start early, long before students reach middle and high school,” said Superintendent Dr. Deborah Flores. “The negative academic consequences of missing school are significant. It is imperative that parents, families and the entire community understand how essential regular school attendance is for student success and that we work together to get all students to school. What we would like to see is families striving for five or less absences during the school year.”

While some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances, research shows that when students miss too much school it can cause them to fall behind academically. Children are less likely to succeed if they are chronically absent - defined as missing 18 or more days over the course of an entire school year.

Research also shows:   

  • Children chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. 
  • By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school. 
  • By 9th grade, good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test scores. 
  • Chronic absenteeism in even a single year between 8th and 12th grade was associated with a seven-fold increase in the likelihood of dropping out.

A child is considered chronically absent if he or she misses just two days every month.

 Practical tips for parents and families that help support regular attendance include:

  • Making sure your children keep a regular bedtime and establish a morning routine.
  • Laying out clothes and packing backpacks the night before;
  • Ensuring your children go to school every day unless they are truly sick;
  • Avoiding scheduling vacations or doctor’s appointments when school is in session;
  • Talking to teachers and counselors for advice if your children feel anxious about going to school; and
  • Developing back up plans for getting to school if something comes up, and calling on a family member, neighbor or another parent to take your child to school if necessary.

GUSD provides a variety of supports to parents and families in order to ensure that students are attending school regularly and ready to learn. For more information, please contact the school site for school-based resources or contact Jennifer Del Bono, Program Administrator - School Climate and Student Attendance at (408) 337-3526.