Regular School Attendance is Important to Student Success
With a new school year underway, Belton ISD is sharing an important message with families: school attendance matters.
“Regular attendance is critical to student success,” said Cynthia Bode, director of student services. “Lessons often build on each other, so being absent causes a student to miss the chance to learn something that will be needed to understand more difficult material later in the year.”
An average school year is 180 days, so missing just two days a month equates to missing 10% of the school year.
“It adds up fast,” Bode said. “Studies show there’s a connection between too many absences and poor achievement. Plus, surveys show that almost all families underestimate their children’s absences by almost half.”
Texas law, called compulsory attendance, requires students ages 6-19 and others enrolled voluntarily to attend school each day. School districts must also enforce the 90% rule that states a student must attend class at least 90% of the days it is offered to receive credit or a final grade in the class.
The district recently launched a new website — www.bisd.net/attendance — to help families better understand requirements and the difference between excused and unexcused absences. They can also submit an absence note on the website that will be routed to the student’s campus.
“Parents are a valuable partner to walk alongside teachers and administrators,” Bode said. “We want to empower parents with the tools and resources needed to help make regular school attendance a habit.”
The new website includes ways parents can help promote regular attendance, such as:
Stay in touch with your child’s school about absences. If your family is experiencing a crisis, school officials may be able to point you to helpful resources.
Use Skyward Family Access to monitor your child’s attendance and grades.
Know the school calendar. When possible, schedule appointments and trips/vacations during school breaks or holidays or on early release days.
Switch between morning and afternoon appointments so your child doesn’t always miss the same class.
Practice routines that support being on time for school (early bedtime, alarm clocks, preparing outfits or lunches the night before, etc.).
Sometimes your child may not feel well but is not sick enough to stay home. If in doubt, bring your child to school and let the nurse check them out.
Showing up every day is not only a skill that will help students do well in class, Bode said. The habit will also help them later in life with getting — and keeping — a job.
“When a student is not in class, our teachers and staff notice because we care,” Bode said. “We want our students to be successful now and in the future, and that starts with regular school attendance.”