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A is for Attendance

By Connie K. Grier, M.Ed.

boyBy now, students have packed away their swimsuits and traded them for scholarly attire.  As our children transition from the lazy hazy days of summer to school attendance and fall activities, it is crucial that parents also switch gears and focus on promoting stellar school attendance for children.  Excellent attendance says a lot about a student.  It shows that the student’s parents hold high standards and expectations around showing up.  While this does not always translate to areas like work habits or behavior, what educators do know is that it is easier to support student learning when they are actually present to receive such support.

There are several activities that can make even the busiest household work like a well-oiled machine in terms of student attendance.  The key is in the preparation, which must happen prior to the morning of school. When children are running around figuring out clothing, exploring refrigerators for lunch items and asking harried parents to sign trip slips, stress sets in and children often wind up late; even worse, some children will beg off of attending all together.

In order to silence that cry for a wasted academic day, try these steps:

Create routines in your home and hold on to them as if they are your life preserver…for they are.  From setting bedtime routines (bedtimes, activities prior to bedtime, hygienic duties, etc.) to morning routines (who makes breakfast, where are clothes stored that are being worn to school, where do papers go that need to be examined by an adult, etc.) routines serve to reduce stress and ensure order.  Children without routines often waste precious time in the mornings, leading to adults becoming frustrated, which can make skipping school for the day a little tempting.  Prepping for school day attire, meals and paperwork (including homework) the evening before makes the morning so much smoother to navigate.

As parents we must consistent and firm when it comes to the monitoring of attendance. Some reasons are just that; “reasonable” issues that make attending school foolhardy.  Children with fevers or seriously ill should not be sent to school, and missing a day under these circumstances is not only allowable but considerate of their classmates and teachers.  A paper cut, on the other hand, does not warrant a get out of school free pass, and we must stand our ground as parents in insisting on their attendance.  The earlier these expectations are embraced (or followed) by children, the easier the peripherals around attendance become to manage.

We owe it to our children to instill into them standards of excellence regarding school; however we have to go beyond ensuring excellent schoolwork is done, we have to get to the one factor that when poor can make even the school genius struggle; attendance.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos

Posted on September 12, 2012 by Connie K. Grier, M.Ed.

Connie Grier is an educator/ educational consultant, a parent of twin boys, and a parent advocate. She has over twenty years experience in the Philadelphia school district and is the founder of a non-profit, The RESPECT Alliance, an organization devoted to respectfully empowering parents so that positive, effective and collaborative relationships are maintained between the home and school settings.  Connie is also a journalist  for the Examiner  and an Adjunct Professor at the Wilmington University. Follow her on Twitter 

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Tags: *Parent Engagement at Home , *School-Family Partnership, Character Development, Cooperation, Learning environment


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