Good attendance is key to student success.
Attending school every day is not only important – it has a huge impact on a student's future. Research has shown that students who miss two or more days per month (defined as chronically absent) are less likely to read at grade level, graduate from high school, and even earn a college degree. Each missed school day is a missed opportunity to learn.
Good attendance has important benefits:
- Less chances for critical gaps in learning and skills
- More consistency and routine
- Regular access to professional educators and support at school
- Classroom environment remains on track for all students with less time spent "catching up"
- Builds a foundation for future success in life after graduation
What is "good" attendance?
At least 95% attendance is our goal for every student. This equals missing no more than one day of school per month (nine days per year).
No student should have below 90% attendance. This is chronic absenteeism, defined as missing two or more days per month. This equals to missing 10% of the entire school year!
Just one day absent means missing...
- 70 minutes of math*
- 130 minutes of reading and writing*
- opportunities to develop social skills and friendships
- physical exercise and creative outlets like art and music
- support from trained educators throughout the school
*for a typical student in third grade
Missing two days per month (90% attendance) would equal missing more than 21 hours of math and 39 hours of reading and writing over the course of a school year!
Research shows that children who were chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade are 81% less likely to read proficiently (on grade level) by the end of third grade.
By sixth grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.
By college, a chronically absent high school graduate has just an 11% chance of earning any degree.
- Myth: "Excused" absences don't count.
- Myth: Arriving late or leaving early doesn't affect students' attendance.
- Myth: Missed lessons and work can just be made up.
- Myth: Missing just a day or two every few weeks won't cause a student to fall behind.
- Myth: Schools only care about attendance because it affects funding.
- Myth: Attendance isn't an issue at my school.
- Talk with your child about the importance of good attendance.
- Set a consistent morning and night routine.
- Lay out backpacks the night before to help minimize stress in the morning.
- Avoid scheduling medical/dental appointments during the school day whenever possible.
- Take trips only during scheduled breaks in the school calendar.
- Make a back-up plan for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, neighbor, or fellow parent.
Keep an eye on students' attendance and academic progress. If issues arise, reach out promptly.
Help your student stay healthy and learn good habits to avoid illness.
Don't let your child stay home unless they are truly sick. Sometimes, a headache or stomachache is a sign of anxiety, so if your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers and counselors about ways to help.
State & District Requirements
Missouri state statute outlines the expectations for students to attend school. Parents and guardians must ensure that children ages 7 to 17 are enrolled in and regularly attends public, private, parochial, home school or a combination of schools for the full term of the school year. By statute, children between the ages of five and seven are not required to be enrolled in school. However, if they are enrolled in a public school their parent, guardian or custodian must ensure that they regularly attend.
North Kansas City Schools' Board of Education expects students to attend school regularly. This expectation is stated in Board Policy JEA:
Once enrolled in the district, the district expects the student to attend regularly and for the student's parents/guardians or other adults having charge, control or custody of the student to communicate regularly and honestly with the district regarding the student's absences. Because the North Kansas City School District Board and district staff strongly believe that regular attendance is important in gaining the most from the educational experience and because state law requires district staff to report all instances of abuse and neglect, including educational neglect, the district will make every effort to ensure students are attending school as required by law. These efforts include, but are not limited to: accurately recording attendance, creating procedures for regular communication with parents/guardians regarding attendance, investigating truancy, and reporting suspected incidences of educational neglect to the Children's Division (CD) of the Department of Social Services.
Our aim is not to penalize anyone for attendance issues. Instead, we want to partner with your family to find solutions to solve any challenges that may be standing in the way of your student being at school.
Poor attendance can also have consequences on middle and high school students' eligibility to participate in activities and athletics per Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) guidelines.
Illness Guidelines: Should My Child Stay Home?
Students should not come to school if they have any of these symptoms in the last 24 hours:
- Fever at or above 100.4° F
Students must be free of all of these symptoms for 24 hours before returning to school.
Those with doctor's orders to stay home also should not come to school.
Not sure? Please contact your child's school nurse.
How Can We Help?
We're here to support your family. Attendance is a partnership between families, students and the school. If something is standing in the way of your student being able to attend school every day, please reach out! We can help find solutions and connect you to resources.
Each of our schools has a School Community Resource Specialist on staff. This individual is a great partner for any questions or needs your family may have regarding attendance. If you are unsure of who to contact, please call your child's school, and we will connect you with support.