At­ten­dance Mat­ters: Reg­u­lar at­ten­dance con­trib­utes to stu­dent suc­cess

Regina Leader-Post - - FINANCIAL POST - AB­SENCES ADD UP

Miss­ing 10 per cent of school, or about 18 days a year, can make it harder for chil­dren to learn to read and can cause stu­dents to fall be­hind. Learn­ing, lit­er­acy and school suc­cess be­gin with go­ing to school each and ev­ery day. It is with the goal of help­ing stu­dents suc­ceed that Regina Pub­lic Schools and United Way Regina in­tro­duced At­ten­dance Mat­ters™.

At­ten­dance Mat­ters, trade­marked by United Way, has been adopted by Regina Pub­lic Schools as a divi­sion-wide ini­tia­tive that strives to en­cour­age all fam­i­lies to de­velop school at­ten­dance habits that will help en­cour­age all stu­dents, from pre-school to Grade 12 to make miss­ing a school day the ex­cep­tion, rather than a pat­tern.

“De­ter­mined to sup­port more of Regina’s chil­dren to read pro­fi­ciently by third grade, United Way Regina is proud to part­ner with Regina Pub­lic Schools on the At­ten­dance Mat­ters ini­tia­tive,” says Robyn Ed­wards-bentz, CEO, United Way Regina. “Chronic at­ten­dance is an im­por­tant pre­dic­tor of fu­ture aca­demic suc­cess. When schools, fam­i­lies and com­mu­nity part­ners pro­mote good at­ten­dance, and ad­dress prob­lems early, stu­dent achieve­ment rises and high school grad­u­a­tion in­creases. United, we all ben­e­fit.”

In the 2018-19 school year, schools have been work­ing with fam­i­lies and their stu­dents to help them un­der­stand why go­ing to school reg­u­larly con­trib­utes to learn­ing. To achieve this goal a series of posters, fly­ers and videos have been pro­duced that in­clude statis­tics of the risks of miss­ing school and help­ful tips on how to avoid ab­sences. Al­though miss­ing a day or two doesn’t seem like a lot, the missed days add up. For in­stance, if a stu­dent misses two days of school a month from Kindergarten to Grade 8, that stu­dent will have missed an en­tire year of school! Fur­ther­more, stu­dent ab­sences can af­fect the whole class­room, when the teacher has to slow down the learn­ing to help stu­dents who missed lessons catch up.

Ex­cel­lent at­ten­dance is ev- ery­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity. This is why At­ten­dance Mat­ters also pro­vides a num­ber of help­ful tips for par­ents and stu­dents to de­velop rou­tines and plans that will pro­mote good at­ten­dance and will con­tribute to suc­cess in school and ul­ti­mately grad­u­a­tion.

Fam­i­lies are en­cour­aged to:

• Set reg­u­lar bed time and morn­ing rou­tine

• De­velop back-up plans for get­ting to school

• Avoid med­i­cal ap­point­ments and fam­ily trips when school is in ses­sion

• Share ideas with other par­ents for get­ting out the door and to school on time

• Talk about the im­por­tance of show­ing up to school every­day

• Find out if the stu­dent feels en­gaged in school and work with school if there are is­sues that are keep­ing the stu­dent from want­ing to go to school.

Fo­cussing on at­ten­dance is ex­tremely im­por­tant be­cause it al­lows stu­dents to get into con­sis­tent pat­terns,” says Greg Enion, Di­rec­tor of Ed­u­ca­tion, Regina Pub­lic Schools. “These pat­terns, along with work done by staff in our schools and the sup­port from fam­i­lies and the com­mu­nity, can con­tribute to stu­dents grad­u­at­ing on time.”

At the be­gin­ning of the 2018-19 school year, a num­ber of posters fea­tur­ing stu­dents, staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers were dis­trib­uted to all Regina Pub­lic Schools. An At­ten­dance Mat­ters video was also cre­ated and launched by United Way Regina at the 2018 Power Lunch on Septem­ber 26, 2018.

“It was very im­por­tant to demon­strate that go­ing to school and fo­cussing on at­ten­dance was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of not only par­ents, stu­dents and staff, but of the whole com­mu­nity,” con­tin­ues Greg Enion. “This is why, in the At­ten­dance Mat­ters posters and videos, we fea­ture, not only stu­dents and school staff, but also lead­ers from the com­mu­nity.” Be­sides school divi­sion em­ploy­ees, the posters and the At­ten­dance Mat­ters video fea­ture Regina Po­lice Chief Evan Bray; Mayor Michael Fougere; School Com­mu­nity Coun­cil Mem­ber, Melissa Obey; Journalist Mad­ina Azizi; and Su­pa­man, In­dige­nous Artist. This ma­te­rial is also mak­ing the rounds on so­cial me­dia, through a series of teaser videos and tweets.

For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www.unit­ed­wayregina.ca and www.rbe.sk.ca.

Photo: Regina pub­lic Schools

Regina Pub­lic Schools and United Way Regina are part­ner­ing on a new ini­tia­tive that en­cour­ages all fam­i­lies to de­velop reg­u­lar school at­ten­dance habits.

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