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From the Desk of the ACS Supt. David Burleson: Suggestions for Promoting Positive School Attendance

Nov. 10, 2014. Dear Editor,

The Avery County Schools, through supportive relationships with students, parents and community, will have every student graduate from high school globally prepared for life in the 21st Century.” This mission statement reflects the focus our employees as we currently serve over 2,100 students every day. Impacting just one of these students in a positive way impacts the future of Avery County as well as our world. We believe one of the first steps in achieving this mission is for students to attend school on a regular basis.

Supt. Burleson
Supt. Burleson

Good attendance is essential to being prepared for the future. Consider that if your child misses four days per quarter beginning in first grade, he/she will have missed 123 days or three-quarters of a school year by the middle school. If this pattern of attendance continues, by their senior year, they will have missed an entire year of school. Avery County Schools works diligently to provide an environment to foster life-long learning by offering the best teachers, principals, support staff, and facilities possible. At the same time, we strive each day to improve our methods, our experiences, and our services in order to continually fulfill our pledge to each child who walks through the doors of our schools.

We understand as a parent, that you too, desire to see your child achieve and become successful. There are many ways to ensure this, but perhaps the most critical component to success in school is to emphasize the importance of regular school attendance. Research shows that students who attend school regularly are more likely to achieve success. Regular attendance is paramount to student success and is an integral part of the educational process. Poor and irregular attendance causes a loss of continuity in the learning process. Socially, a student who does not attend regularly often has trouble making close friends and understanding the importance of being a part of the school.

While many may think of chronic absenteeism as a high school problem, research suggests that irregular attendance and habitual absenteeism begins in elementary school. Missing school at an early age when students are learning the most basic skills, can negatively impact students in later grades and contribute to poor attendance throughout their academic and employment careers. In recent studies, chronic absenteeism in kindergarten predicted continuing absences in later grades. One study released by the Baltimore Educational Research Consortium showed that high school dropouts show steadily increasing chronic absenteeism for years before they actually leave school. Students who have poor attendance are at a greater risk of being unsuccessful academically and often drop out of school. A student who drops out of school significantly limits their options for career choices and employment. There is a high correlation between poor attendance and lack of success in school and into the future. Educational success and graduation from high school are crucial for expanding opportunities in today’s world. It is very important for students to be present and on time to school. Developing good work habits at an early age will be beneficial when entering the job market and will expand opportunities for occupational success. Good attendance habits are a cornerstone of the educational foundation and often dictate the successes and failures of students. Today’s habits set the tone for tomorrow’s successes.

Here are some suggestions that may be helpful in promoting positive school attendance:

  • Make attendance a priority for your child.
  • Become familiar with the attendance policy and procedure for your school.
  • When possible, avoid scheduling appointments and personal trips during the school day.
  • Make it clear to your child that you support the rules and consequences for skipping class and tardiness.
  • Take every opportunity to communicate with the school if your child needs to miss school due to sickness or other extenuating circumstances.

As a community, let’s work together to encourage regular, consistent attendance as we support our students for success. Thank you for working with us to achieve our vision to graduate EVERY student.


David Burleson