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8 smart tips for getting your tween and teen to school

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Teenager on school campus with backpack

In this article, you’ll find answers to questions like:

1. What's the positive impact of regular attendance?
2. How to avoid absences?

Regular school attendance is as important in middle and high school as in preschool and elementary grades. As children grow up, though, more responsibility for being in class shifts to students. So, parents, your role shifts too to keep emphasizing the importance of being in school, on time, every day. Attendance matters because it’s an important life skill for graduating on time, getting into college or keeping a job.

1. WHAT'S THE POSITIVE IMPACT OF AVOIDING SCHOOL ABSENCES?

There's a direct link between school attendance, school success and graduation. School district data shows that an eighth-grade student in Palm Beach County with fewer than five absences has an 86.5 percent chance of graduating high school, while an eighth-grade student who misses more than 21 days of school has a 53.3 percent chance of graduating high school.

2. HOW TO AVOID ABSENCES?

What can parents say and do to help older children value school attendance? Here are eight smart tips from Attendance Works, a national initiative that promotes awareness of importance of school attendance:

  • MAKE SCHOOL A PRIORITY. Talk about regular and on-time attendance. Remind your child that school is his first and most important job. He’s learning about more than math and science; he’s learning that when he graduates and gets a job, he’ll understand the importance of showing up for work on time, every day.
  • TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE. Remind her that when she’s not in class, teachers and administrators notice because they care and they want her to be successful. In fact, a high school graduate makes, on average, $1 million more than a student without a high school diploma over a lifetime.
  • PRAISE HARD WORK. Remind your student that school only gets harder when a student stays home too much.
  • ASK FOR HELP. If your teen is having trouble getting to or staying in school – issues with transportation, personal health, bullies, taking care of parents or younger children, etc. – talk with someone, such as a guidance counselor. You can also reach out to these local organizations for help:
  • STAY INVOLVED. Showing up for teacher conferences and engaging with the school is still critical. Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary. Make sure teachers know how to contact you. Check regularly on your child’s attendance to be sure absences are not piling up that you didn’t know about.
  • BE IN THE KNOW. Stay on top of your child’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.
  • ENCOURAGE ENGAGEMENT. Encourage your student to participate in meaningful afterschool activities, including sports and clubs, or part-time work. This increases her connection to school and her future.
  • STICK TO THE ROUTINE. Daily self-discipline is important, so make sure your children get their homework done, assignments don’t turn into a last-minute panic, and they still get a good night’s sleep — without distraction from phones or games.

For a video on the importance of school attendance by Hedy Chang, founder and director of Attendance Works, click here. Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County sponsored a visit by Ms. Chang to meet with School District administrators and mayors of local cities.

SOURCES:

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