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MPSD Announces Local Efforts to Celebrate the Attendance Awareness Campaign

Attendance Works BadgeSEPTEMBER 28, 2022 -- Chronic absence disproportionately affects children from low-income families and communities of color, creating attendance gaps that exacerbate achievement gaps in local schools. This is not just a matter of truancy. Many children, especially in the early grades, miss too much school because of chronic health problems, unreliable transportation, or housing moves—barriers that city agencies and community partners can help families address.

“This matters to all of us, not just those with school-age children,” Dr. Amy Carter, MPSD Superintendent said. “When our schools graduate more students, on time, our communities and our economy are stronger. We have more people who are prepared for the workplace and more engaged in our community’s civic life.”

In September, schools, city agencies, community nonprofits, faith-based groups, businesses, and others around the nation are committing time and resources to raise public awareness, map local attendance gaps and work with community partners to improve school attendance starting as soon as children enter school.

“September is a particularly good time to focus on attendance,” said Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Works, a national nonprofit initiative dedicated to improving school attendance. “Research shows that students who miss two to four days in the first month of school are more likely to become chronically absent during the school year. By paying attention to absences early in the school year and early in a child’s academic career, we can turn around attendance and achievement.”

For the Attendance Awareness Campaign, we are asking school leaders, community advocates, parents, and students to act upon these critical first steps to help stem chronic absenteeism:

  • Build a habit and a culture of regular attendance
  • Use data to determine when and with whom chronic absence is a problem, and
  • Identify and address barriers to getting children to school.

Study after study shows that chronic absence is an early warning indicator that a student will drop out of high school. A study from Utah found that a student who was chronically absent in any year between eighth and 12th grade was 7.4 times more likely to drop out than a student with better attendance.