Putting a focus on attendance at Lynden Schools

Putting a focus on attendance at Lynden Schools
Posted on 09/07/2017

From preschool to high school, the simple act of attending class presents opportunity in both academics and discipline, allowing a student to succeed.

As Lynden Schools looks toward Attendance Month in September, the district has placed a renewed focus on trying to help educate and encourage families to have students attend school on a regular basis, both in September and beyond.

School officials have reached out to parents throughout the district with information about how too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school. For example. being absent two days a month adds up to missing 10 percent of the school year, enough to negatively affect a student’s academic performance.

And by sixth grade, absenteeism is a leading warning sign that a student may drop out of high school. Whether the absences are excused or unexcused, they both represent lost time in a classroom and a lost opportunity to learn, which can lead to a student losing interest in school, increasing the likelihood of struggling with school or dealing with other difficulties.

Absences can affect the entire classroom if the teacher must slow down learning to help others catch up. 

“Inconsistent attendance often compounds the challenges many learners face in today’s schools,” says David VanderYacht, Lynden Schools assistant superintendent. “We want parents to do all they can to promote the importance or regular attendance to their children.”

VanderYacht says teachers also want to have students in class every day, just a s a conductor wants all of the performers in the house and a coach desires all the members of the team on the field.

Studies show that by ninth grade, good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than eighth grade test scores. Local employers have also expressed the desire to have employees who understand the importance of regular attendance.

“If a child is suddenly, or consistently over time, communicating that they don’t want to go to school, I encourage you to speak with your child’s teacher, counselor or principal,” VanderYacht says. “Students may not be comfortable sharing the reason why but the adults at the school may likely have an idea. The key is to work together toward the common goal of regular attendance.”

Lynden Schools suggests tips that range from setting regular night and morning routines, preparing for the next day of school the night before, not letting students stay home unless truly sick, avoiding extended trips and appointments during school hours, developing fallback plans for getting students to school, tracking attendance and encouraging meaningful afterschool activities to ensure students stay connected to the school community.