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Did you know if students miss just two days per month, every month, they are less likely to graduate high school? Getting kids to go to school is one of the most powerful predictors of future academic success. That’s why we’re kicking off the new year with Attendance Matters, a campaign aimed at educating students, families and the community on the importance of why good school attendance matters.

As parents, we may not realize how absences add up, but students who miss school have difficulty keeping up with their peers academically and tend to fall behind in reading.

Even excused absences can have a negative effect for students as young as kindergarten. Missing school during these formative years can impact their ability to read on grade level. By third grade, chronic absenteeism can lead to a 50-day instructional gap – more than a quarter of a school year – making it more difficult for students to be successful in the classroom.

The good news is, if children can read on grade level by third grade, they are three to four times more likely to graduate high school and go on to college. In other words, students need to be here in the classroom to get there – whether they are going to college or straight into the workforce! Not only that, but kids with fewer than five unexcused absences are more likely to make the critical transition from learning to read to reading to learn by third grade.

As a parent, here’s how you can help:

• prepare for school the night before,

• have a ‘Plan B’ in case of transportation issues,

• plan doctor appointments outside of school hours, if possible, and

• avoid planning trips or other activities during school time.

Attendance matters to everyone. Make it a priority for your child to be in school all day, every day.