When you are absent in the workplace, you could miss important training that might allow you to perform more efficiently and to advance yourself. It is the same for students in our schools.
When a student is absent from school, regardless of the reason, important learning can be missed. In the early grades, being absent could mean missing the experience of writing a class story about, for example, observing how steam cools and collects on a mirror to become water droplets.
In the middle grades, being absent could mean missing the important lesson on short cuts in dividing fractions. At the upper grades, it could mean missing the class discussion about Jane Austin's book, "Pride and Prejudice," or learning about the unique biological differences between two similar reptiles.
The learning a person acquires during important lessons often serves as building blocks of knowledge for future comprehension, understanding and success in school.
Educators and parents are not the only persons concerned about student attendance and its impact on student achievement. In the cities and communities that make up the Mount Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD), civic leaders, religious leaders, business owners, and community individuals are concerned as well.
While teachers and principals focus their energies on educating the student, it is next to impossible to ensure that the knowledge has been acquired if the student is absent from school.
Following are some ideas on how parents, schools and the community can support student attendance and positively impact student achievement.
Parents can help by:
Schools in the districts can help by:
Community and businesses also can help:
Additionally, quite a few years ago, State legislation no longer allowed school districts to include excused absences for attendance reporting toward reimbursement.
The state only provides funding for school days when a student is physically in attendance. Therefore, not attending school because of a doctor or dentist visit, funerals, court appearances and being ill will penalize school funding at a time when there is already limited money.
Through a concerned community effort, supported by parents, schools and the community working together to improve student attendance, the Mount Diablo Unified School District goal of increased student achievement will be realized.
Dr. John Bernard, a Bay Area native, serves as the interim superintendent for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.