SCS to participate in attendance awareness month

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Selma City Schools has joined a nationwide effort to celebrate the Attendance Awareness Campaign in September and has pledged to raise awareness about the value of regular school attendance and focus on reducing chronic absenteeism in the new school year.

“Selma City Schools recognizes that good attendance is essential to academic success,” according to a release from the school system. “But far too many students are at risk academically because they are chronically absent. Chronic absence is described as missing 10 percent of the school year—or about 18 days – for any reason, excused or unexcused. That’s the point at which absenteeism begins to affect student performance, research shows.

Nationally, nearly 8 million students miss almost a month of school in excused and unexcused absences every year. Starting as early as kindergarten or even preschool, chronic absence predicts lower third-grade reading scores. By middle school, it’s a warning sign that students will fail key classes and drop out of high school, according to the release.

The release continues saying, 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.

“We know that we will never narrow the achievement gap or reduce our dropout rate until we bring this problem under control, and that means starting early,” said Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams. “All our efforts to improve curriculum and instruction won’t matter much if kids aren’t in school.”

The system is calling for the public to join the campaign.

Parents are encouraged to make sure their children are only absent when necessary and be sure to have an excuse when they return. Community members are asked to encourage students to be in school and to provide incentives for attending school.