Attendance Matters: Regular attendance contributes to student success
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.
Regina Public Schools and United Way Regina are partnering on a new initiative that encourages all families to develop regular school attendance habits.