Monday, October 26, 2015

RSU14 Superintendent pledges to make school attendance a priority starting in the early grades

RSU14 Superintendent Sandy Prince was recognized last week for his role in a nationwide Call to Action that emphasizes the importance of school attendance. Education Week listed more than 200 superintendents who are launching the academic year with a commitment to making reducing chronic absence a top priority, digging deeper into attendance data and working with community partners to improve school attendance starting as soon as children enter school.

The Call to Action drew leaders from some of the nation’s largest districts – New York City, Los Angeles and Miami-Dade County – as well as superintendents from smaller places, such as Glasgow, Montana with 850 students or Alpine County, California, with 80.

“Tracking student attendance is a priority in this district and my pledge is that we will do whatever it takes to ensure students are in school,” said Prince.

Poor attendance is a surprisingly prevalent but often overlooked factor in why students and schools are struggling academically. Although absenteeism is often considered a high school problem, national research shows that one in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students miss nearly a month of school every year in excused and unexcused absences.

Regardless of the reason for the absence, these missed days can leave children falling behind in reading and math. By sixth grade, chronic absence becomes a warning sign that a student might drop out of high school.

The Call to Action for superintendents is sponsored by seven national organizations that lead the Attendance Awareness Month campaign: America’s Promise Alliance, Attendance Works, The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Get Schooled, Healthy Schools Campaign, Points of Light and United Way Worldwide.

By joining the Call to Action, Prince will have access to tools, expert advice and peer learning opportunities.

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