DATE: August 25, 2017
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT:

September is Attendance Awareness Month


School attendance is essential to academic success, but too often parents, students and sometimes teachers do not realize how quickly absences, excused as well as unexcused, can add up to academic trouble.  At the same time principals, division leaders, and community members often do not know if chronic absence is a significant problem in local schools.

Research shows that missing as little as two days every month, or ten percent of the school year is considered chronic absenteeism.  Missing school can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing courses and ultimately, teens dropping out of high school.

This September will mark the fifth annual Attendance Awareness MonthThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website campaign, an opportunity to rally your community, advocates, policymakers, volunteers, funders, and supporters around the importance of attendance and its role in academic achievement.  The campaign is spearheaded by Attendance WorksThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website, a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice around school attendance.  

As a part of the "Call to Action," from the United States Department of Education (USDOE) and the Every Student, Every DayThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website Initiative, superintendents are encouraged to:

The Virginia Department of Education, in collaboration with Attendance Works, has also created a 13 module series entitled Attendance and Truancy Among Virginia Students.  The 13th module pertains specifically to the new Regulations Governing the Collection and Reporting of Truancy Related Data and Student Attendance Policies8-VAC 20-730This link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website, and discusses data collection monitoring and reporting.  Modules 1-12 include a Participant/Facilitator Guide, can be viewed individually or in a group, and will assist schools and divisions in looking at current practice and at ways to improve future practice with the goal of addressing and eliminating chronic absenteeism, and ultimately boost student outcomes and success.

Additional information and resources, including a Tool KitThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website, are available at the Attendance WorksThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website.  If you have questions contact Joseph Wharff, School Counseling Specialist by telephone at (804) 225-3370, or by email at Joseph.Wharff@doe.virginia.gov.

SRS/JAW/rt