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Set a Goal! 10 Steps to Improve Attendance

HS3 student Miguel Flores meets with teacher Kassi Lazzuri to discuss his plan to improve attendance.
HS3 student Miguel Flores meets with teacher Kassi Lazzuri to discuss his plan to improve attendance.
Missing one or two days of school can add up quickly. Research shows students can suffer academically if they miss 10% of the school year, or about 18 days. That's just one day every two weeks. 

Miguel Flores missed 48 days of school during his eighth-grade year. The more he missed school, the harder it was to understand what was being taught in class and the farther behind he got. That caused stress and anxiety, giving Miguel more reason to skip school. 

When Miguel started as a freshman at Health Sciences & Human Services High School (HS3), he worked closely with his teachers and a success coach to create a plan to improve his attendance and grades. The hard work paid off, and he cut his number of absences in half to 24 days. 

"When I was in middle school, I didn't really care. I had a 2.0 GPA at the end of the year. I started to care in high school because I realized school is important. I have to do well and get good grades to graduate," Miguel said. 

Today, Miguel is a sophomore. He has improved his grades enough to compete on the cross country and track teams. This has turned into a big motivator to go to school every day and get good grades. He is still working closely with staff on his attendance and aims to cut his absences in half again this year. 

"My teachers don’t tell me I did something wrong when [I miss school]. Instead, they help me come up with a plan to fix it," said Miguel. 

Some absences are unavoidable. We understand that students will get sick and need to stay home occasionally. The important thing is to get students to school as often as possible and on time. 
Here are ten steps families can take to improve their students' attendance. 
1   Let your student know that you believe school and attendance are important. 
 Every Day + On Time = Academic Sucecss
 2 Set a regular bed time and morning routine that is appropriate for your student's age.
Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
Create a plan for getting your student to school on time.
Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent. 
Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session. Schedule appointments for before or after school hours.
7   Regularly check your student's attendance and academic progress by using the Parent Portal
8   Don’t let your child stay home unless they are truly sick.
If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make her feel comfortable and excited about learning.
Find something about school that engages your student such as a sports team, club, or specific class. Use that to motivate him to go to school every day on time.
Families can turn to their school for help. We offer services for the whole family. Seek help if you are facing tough challenges related to access to health care, unstable housing, poor transportation, or lack of food. 
Get more resources to help your students maintain good attendance.