The following letter was emailed to all PK-12 parents on Thursday, September 29.
The East Greenbush Central School District is off to a great start in the 2022-23 school year! It is wonderful to have all of our students back in the classroom and learning under normal conditions.
As we get further into the school year, we would like to remind you of the importance of good attendance for all students. Every day a student is absent is a lost opportunity for learning. Too many absences not only can affect achievement for the absent student but also can disrupt learning for the entire class.
Research shows that students who consistently miss school are at risk of lower academic achievement, failure and even dropping out of school altogether.
Bringing awareness to the issue of chronic absenteeism, and providing information and resources to parents can help improve student attendance and, consequently, student achievement. We saw during the pandemic how important it is for all students to be learning in-person from their teachers and alongside their classmates.
We have an attendance initiative called Attendance Matters in order to heighten awareness of the importance of attending school each day and to improve school attendance in all of our schools. If your child is healthy, they should be in school.
Most children miss a few days of school each year without long-term consequences. However, when they miss many days, the effects are almost always negative. The New York State Education Department classifies a student as being “chronically absent” when they miss 10 percent of school days, and it is different from truancy, which counts only unexcused absences.
In the East Greenbush Central School District, students are considered chronically absent when they miss 18 school days a year for any reason (10% of our 180 school day calendar). That works out to less than 2 days per month.
Over the course of a student’s high school career, missing 10 percent of school days would equate to missing almost an entire semester of school.
What Can Families Do?
Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school and themselves. Start building this habit in preschool so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Good attendance will help children do well in high school, college and in their careers.
What you can do:
- Avoid scheduling vacations when school is in session. They are considered unexcused absences.
- Build regular routines for bedtime and the morning.
- Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
- Talk about the importance of regular attendance and about how your child feels about school.
- Don’t permit missing school unless your child is truly sick. Use a thermometer to check for a fever. Remember that stomach aches and headaches may be signs of anxiety.
- If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make him/her feel comfortable and excited about learning.
- Avoid medical appointments when school is in session.
- Keep a chart recording your child’s attendance at home. At the end of the week, talk with your child about what you see.
- Develop back up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Ask a family member, neighbor or another parent for help.
- Seek support from school staff or community groups to help with transportation, health problems, or no safe path to school.
The East Greenbush CSD sends automated Attendance Notifications to parents whose children are marked “Unexcused Absent” or “Unexcused Tardy” on a given school day. Parents receive an email and text message via ParentSquare to notify them of the absence or late arrival. If the text message does not go through, an automated phone call will be sent.
We hope this new service through ParentSquare will improve communication regarding student attendance.
We also realize that there are a number of excused reasons why your child may be late to school. Please send a note or call the school in advance if you know your child will be out of school ahead of time.
Thank you for your support.