Attendance Matters

School Attendance Matters, Increases Student Achievement
Posted on 12/07/2022
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What has the most impact on student achievement? Teacher effectiveness will arguably remain the strongest school-related determinant of student success, but chronic student absenteeism reduces even the best teacher's ability to provide learning opportunities. In short, if a student is not present, not even the best educators can teach them. Therefore, students who attend school regularly will be more successful and achieve at higher levels than students who do not have consistent attendance or are tardy frequently.

Recent reports and studies researching elementary-age children found that absenteeism in kindergarten was associated with negative first grade outcomes such as greater absenteeism in subsequent years and lower achievement in reading, math and general knowledge.

Additionally, poor attendance has serious implications for later outcomes in years to come. High school dropouts have been found to exhibit a history of negative behaviors, including high levels of absenteeism throughout their childhood, at higher rates than their high school graduate counterparts. These differences in absentee rates were observed as early as kindergarten, and students who eventually dropped out of high school missed significantly more days of school in first grade than their peers who graduated from high school.

“School attendance has shown to be a key indicator significantly correlated with high school graduation,” said Dr. Ricky Medina, Ph.D., director of accountability and assessment for the Carson City School District. “The effects of lost school days build up one absence at a time with individual students. The best way to counteract that is to build up regular attendance, one day at a time and to help parents a families unify with schools and understand the importance and overall impact of missing school.”

Not only does attendance matter in school, but those early learned habits of tardiness or unplanned days off also play a significant role in careers and future employment opportunities.

The impact of widespread absenteeism in the workplace affects both personnel and the company's financial bottom line, another report detailed prior to the pandemic. Managers need to hire temporary replacements and co-workers take on reassigned tasks and the company experiences a loss in general productivity. The effect of absenteeism on employee performance impacts both the mental and physical wellness of workers who must repeatedly deal with the aftermath of a co-worker's poor work attendance, increasing levels of stress in the workplace, resulting in lower morale within the company.

“It is critical that students understand that the behavior they develop in high school is going to continue in college,” said Carson City School Board Trustee Lupe Ramirez. “Students will no longer be supervised by their teachers in whatever decisions they make; it’s going to impact their future. For instance, if they choose to skip class or arrive late to their classes, they are jeopardizing their grades, their financial aid and most importantly, their confidence to reach their potential.”

While we recognize that life happens and that there will be times we will not be able to go to school or work for reasons beyond our control, absenteeism or tardiness becomes an issue at school and in the workplace when it becomes a constant behavior, Ramirez continued. Parents must be behind these efforts to ensure their children are practicing good habits at home and at school. After all, they are their first teachers, and family values are the main contributing factors to the life of a successful student.

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Be Present.’ That phrase is normally used when individuals are too caught-up in their own self-interests or more commonly, their personal devices such as phones. But in the case of chronic absenteeism, it has dual meaning, reminding students and employees to ‘Be Present’ to their duties and responsibilities. Not being present has a rippling effect that impacts workload, work teams and management.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that absenteeism in the U.S. costs employers $225.8 billion annually in productivity losses.

In addition to dampening bottom lines and productivity, local law enforcement has persisted that regular school attendance and employment significantly diminishes crime. Certainly, the proverbial phrase “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” carries significant meaning.

“I have said on several occasions that the safest place for students to be is in their seats in school,” said Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong. “If students are not in school, they are then likely getting into mischief, which makes my job harder.”

The same sentiment can be said for employees, Sheriff Furlong continued. When someone has a full-time job, where they attend regularly, they are less likely to make poor decisions where law enforcement is contacted or caused to intervene.

The world-wide pandemic was debilitating in numerous ways, much of which is still shaking out as states and schools recover. Among those pandemic impacts, some individuals may continue to be lacking in their desire to “Be Present.” Regular attendance matters. Individuals who are on time and present regularly will be more successful and achieve at higher levels than those who are tardy or chronically absent.

Photo Caption:
All Mark Twain Elementary Students who earned perfect attendance for the month of November 2022: Edwin Alvarado, Leighann Carper, Audrina Contreras, Max Cooper, Valentina Escobar Rivas, Emanuel Fausto, Aylin Figueroa Pacheco, Kimberly Furlong, Alizabeth Galloway, Anakin Galloway, Andrew Galloway, Dominic Garcia, Samantha Garcia, Adriana Garcia Espinoza, Jayden Gomez-Medina, Meghan Kelliher, Kayden Lee, Luna Lopez Anaya, Lorenzo Lopez-Munguia, Joshua Martinez Angulo, Emmanuel Mendez Luquin, Isabella Mendoza Montalvo, Mekhy Noble, Ayden O’Connor, Kamilia Perez Maciel, Ace Ragan, Yonatan Ramos Calix, Isabella Ranson, Blaine Shirey, Etta Snow, Wyatt Snow, Fern Stearns, Joshua Stirnaman, Gurleen Thind, Jaime Tijerina and Jannessa Weston.