Fearless Parenting

What Research Says on Attendance: Every Day Counts
Ms. Tammy Fisher

What a wonderful reunion this past week has been. New faces, old faces, new stories, old memories. Back to school where everything old is new again. As St. Thomas School's counselor, I have the wonderful opportunity of teaching weekly in all grades (PreKindergarten to 8th), and working with the cross-divisions of grades: the strengths, the challenges, and the edgework that happens for every student. I will endeavor to write a short blog regularly, sharing articles, research, thought-provoking ideas, new books, and resources to support our shared mission of building capacity and potential in our students.

In addition, I am going to host great conversations with parents from across divisions during our Teaming with Tammy connection time. As a parent coach and Advanced trainer in the Nurtured Heart Approach®, I aim to bring in – and to field - timely, relevant topics which directly support your (and your children's) ability to be successful. Laughter, shared wisdom from others, and supported connection in the short time is helpful. All topics are welcome, and parents lean in to help each other. Currently, we have set four Wednesday mornings (8:50- 10:00 a.m., Conference Room 269) for these intentional conversations to occur (we generally add more – and offer other parent education during the year):

  • Wednesday, September 28– Focused topic on the challenges of maintaining boundaries and setting rules
  • Wednesday, November 2 - Focused topic on strategies for managing anxiety (ours and theirs)
  • Wednesday, January 11 - Focused topic on handling negativity (adults and kids!)
  • Wednesday, March 8 - Focused topic on understanding social, cognitive challenges, and developmental milestones

Much of my free time outside of my work here is spent working on my third year as a doctorate student earning my PhD. Because of this intention, I have become a research geek and love data that helps inform the decisions we make as educators and parents. So here is this week's:

What Research Says on Attendance: Every Day Counts New research released last month by the Ad Council revealed that a substantial majority of parents (89%) recognize that school attendance plays a large role in the ultimate goal of high school graduation. However, nearly half of these parents (49%) believed that if their children would not be impacted negatively if they missed three to four days of school each month. The research emphatically says otherwise.

The U.S. Department of Education identifies a student who misses just two days of school each month (only 10%) as chronically absent. Even with children as young as preschool, these chronic absences have been correlated to delays in reading and language skills. In addition, they note children who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten and first grade are less likely to read on grade level by third grade – a critical milestone correlated with high school graduation. In an interesting team effort, the U.S. Department of Education, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Ad Council Partner on Absences Add Up have joined together to communicate this to schools and parent communities. Even here in the Bellevue School District where St. Thomas School resides, one can see signs posted to bring focus on this critical initiative for student success: Right Time. Right Place. Ready to Learn. Bellevue cites familiar research (based upon upper elementary to middle school populations) which continues to note that it usually takes students three days to make up for the one day they missed.

Great campaign. Great data to support it. Great reason to take the, "Can I just stay home today?" query off the table. Not today, my friend. We have some learning to do. See you in school!

Want to join my research geek adventure? Read more here: http://www.attendanceworks.org/research/all-research/