Freeport, Illinois — I cannot believe that we have started the 2018-2019 school year. The educators in the district have been working hard to make this the best school year ever in the Freeport School District. There are many curriculum, assessment, behavior, and personnel changes in the district that will help the district get off to a great start. One area that we need to focus on is school attendance. By making your child’s school attendance a priority, you will be taking an important step in supporting your child’s school success and in setting a good example for when they get out in the workforce.
The district goal is to reach an attendance rate of 95%. For the past three years, we have been between 93% and 94%. Last year, we had over 25,000 unexcused absences in the district (K-12) and 22,000 excused absences in the district (K-12).
This year, we have been telling students to Make Every Day Count! Daily school attendance is one of the most important ways you and your child can work together to achieve academic success. In fact, research has shown that your child’s attendance record may be the biggest factor influencing his or her academic success. For example, young elementary school students who miss an average of just two school days per month often have difficulty keeping up with their peers academically and tend to fall behind in reading. In contrast, students who are able to attend regularly and read at grade level by the end of third grade, which is when kids transition from learning to read to reading to learn, are three to four times more likely to graduate high school and attend college, post-graduate, or professional development classes than their peers who struggle with reading. Remember: every day counts!
As a parent or guardian, it is possible to plan ahead in order to limit your child’s absences, make school attendance a priority, and help ensure your child doesn’t fall behind if it is necessary to miss a day of school. You can do these things in the following ways:
Make sure you aren’t late.
Who is to blame for an elementary student being dropped off late for school? How can we blame and give consequences to a kindergartner or second grader for arriving late? Sometimes the child wants to go to school but the parent is late, which in turn hurts the child’s academic success.
Help your child get to school on time every day. – Teach your child how to set and use an alarm, and keep the TV off in the morning. Make sure you are helping them get ready and continue to push them out the door.
Promote good health and rest.
Plan ahead. – Encourage your child to prepare for the next school day by laying out clothes and preparing lunches in advance.
Help us get your child off to a great start this school year by making sure they’re getting to school on time and every day. Encouraging regular school attendance is one of the most powerful ways you can prepare your child for success—both in school and in life. When you make school attendance a priority, you help your child get better grades, develop healthy life habits, avoid dangerous behavior, and have a better chance of graduating from high school.
Thank you for your help and support of the Freeport School District. We continue to strive to educate every student for the challenges of today and the opportunities of tomorrow through the continuous pursuit of excellence.
Dr. Mike Schiffman is the Superintendent of Schools in the Freeport School District.