Attendance and Student Success

School Attendance Influences Student Success

Absences add up, lost time in the classroom is a lost opportunity to learn. Please schedule appointments late in the day and vacations or family trips during District holidays. Having your student in school as frequently as possible positively impacts your student’s academic and social performance as well as resources made available to the school(s).

Effects of chronic absences

Students with good attendance can make academic gains and is an essential strategy for reducing achievement gaps. Chronic absences throughout a student’s academic career have shown:

  • Poor attendance in the first month of school can predict chronic absences for the entire year,
  • Absenteeism in Kindergarten can affect whether a child develops the grit and perseverance needed to succeed in school,
  • Absenteeism in preschool and kindergarten can influence whether a child will be held back in third grade,
  • As early as grade 6, absenteeism in middle and high school can predict dropout rates,
  • Absenteeism influences, not just chances for graduating but also for completing college – only 11 percent of the chronically absent students who graduated from high school made it to the second year of college, compared to 51 percent of students with better high school attendance records*,
  • A lack of certain social skills, including a child’s ability to pay attention, work independently, adapt to change and persist in tasks may be a result of chronic absenteeism, and
  • To slow down instruction for the entire class as the teacher spends time catching up the student that was absent.

National testing data* shows that students who miss more school than their peers consistently score lower on standardized tests, a result that holds true at every age, in every demographic group, and in every state and city tested.

District Attendance Policy

We look forward to seeing your child in school every day. However, if an absence is unavoidable, it’s important to be familiar with the District’s attendance policy.

The following absences will be marked “excused”:

  • Illness documented with a note from a doctor/parent within 48 hours,
  • Death in the immediate family, or
  • School-related event.

There are some additional reasons for an absence that would not be marked either way, including religious holidays and visiting a parent in the military. Unexcused absences will be assessed for truancy measures on a case-by-case basis with consideration for the educational value, length, and frequency of trips and in the case of non-immediate family member deaths.

The State of Texas mandates a process for truancy prevention, beginning when a student has three unexcused absences within four weeks. Truancy is a failure to attend school on 10 or more days within a six-month period in the same school year. Truancy prevention measures include the following steps.

  • Three unexcused absences within four weeks:
    • Parents are sent an automatically generated letter, and
    • A school administrator initiates a Student Attendance Plan with a parent.
  • Seven unexcused absences within six months:
    • The Student Attendance Plan is revisited with a parent, and
    • Possible involvement of attendance officer.
  • Ten unexcused absences within six months:
    • An automatically generated letter is sent to parents,
    • The Student Attendance Plan is revisited with a parent,
    • A home visit may be scheduled, and
    • Involvement of attendance officer and/or escalation of truancy case to court, with a possibility of fines between $100 and $500.
School Calendars

For more information on student absences, refer to the absence and attendance section in the District’s Student-Parent Handbook.

*(Source: attendanceworks.org)