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School Attendance Matters: Make Attendance a Priority
As we begin the new year, I hope everyone with a student at North Daviess R-III will commit to a shared resolution of making school attendance a top priority for 2018-2019. At North Daviess R-III we are concerned about our students’ attendance and monitor it closely.
Attendance is one of the ways the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education evaluates school districts. In the past, DESE was most concerned with our average daily attendance. North Daviess R-III’s average daily attendance runs about 95 percent. Now DESE has a new goal. It wants 90 percent of students to attend 90 percent or more of the time, and that is the standard by which we are evaluated. This may seem like a small difference, but it is not. While North Daviess R-III’s daily average last year was near 95 percent, only 90 percent of our students attended at least 90 percent of the time, just barely meeting the state minimum requirement. For the entire state of Missouri, only 89 percent attended 90 percent or more of the time.
A student can miss 17 days of school and still meet the 90 percent attendance mark. In my opinion, that is too much. Perfect attendance is the ultimate goal, but 95 percent is a reasonable goal. Ninety-five percent is also the required rate for a student to qualify for the A-Plus program in high school. Sometimes, parents and students ask about excused absences. In reality, this is not really the issue. Excused or unexcused: absent is still absent, and absences affect learning. It’s not just consecutive absences that matter either: sporadic absences add up, as well. Missing just a couple days a month means missing as much as 10 percent of the school year. A 2011 report by Applied Survey Research found that students who arrived at school academically ready to learn but missed 10 percent of their kindergarten and first grade years scored an average of 60 points below similar students with good attendance on third-grade reading tests.
Help your child avoid absences by scheduling doctor, dentist, and other appointments after school hours or on days when school is not in session. Schedule family vacations during the summer or holiday breaks. Realize that if you don’t, student absences add up very quickly and have a direct impact on both learning and grades.
Help us reach our attendance goals in 2018-2019.
Mr. Dan Street, Superintendent