Sioux City Community School District Announces Local Efforts to Recognize September as Attendance Awareness Month

attendachieve_decalThe Sioux City Community School District and the Sioux City School Board have joined a nationwide effort to celebrate Attendance Awareness Month in September. The District and the Board have pledged to raise awareness about the value of regular school attendance and focus on reducing chronic absenteeism in the new school year.

The District recognizes that good attendance is essential to academic success. Nationwide 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.

“This matters to all of us, not just those with school-age children,” said Mike Krysl, Board President. “When our schools graduate more students, on time, our communities and our economy are stronger. We have more people who are prepared for the workplace and more engaged in our community’s civic life.”

At the September 11 board meeting, the Sioux City School Board is delivering a proclamation to recognize September as Attendance Awareness Month. As a follow-up, the Sioux City School District will launch the “Attend Today. Achieve Tomorrow.” campaign to raise awareness locally. The campaign will include the release of social media messages throughout September to educate the community on the importance of attendance.

School attendance is of the utmost importance for students to achieve at high levels. A lot of work goes into supporting students with proper curriculum and instruction; these efforts are only successful if students are able to attend school,” said Dr. Paul Gausman, Superintendent of the Sioux City Community District. “The ‘Attend Today. Achieve Tomorrow.’ attendance campaign is a great way for us to raise awareness about the importance of school attendance.”

Starting as early as kindergarten or even preschool, chronic absence predicts lower 3rd grade reading scores. By middle school it’s a warning sign that students will fail key classes and drop out of high school. Therefore, by building a habit of attendance now, the District can influence improved graduation rates for the future.

“The campaign’s focus on attendance directly aligns with our goals,” said Dr. Gausman. “The Focus 2022 strategic plan for the District specifically identifies a reduction in chronic absenteeism for Pk-2 students and improvement in graduation rates as two areas of focus. This campaign will help bring the District closer to achieving these goals.”

Nationwide, September will be a time that schools, city agencies, community nonprofits, faith-based groups and businesses commit time and resources to raise public awareness, map local attendance gaps and work with community partners to improve school attendance starting as soon as children enter school.

“September is a particularly good time to focus on attendance,” said Hedy Chang, Director of Attendance Works, a national nonprofit dedicated to improve school attendance “Research shows that students who miss two to four days in the first month of school are more likely to become chronically absent during the school year. By paying attention to absences early in the school year and early in a child’s academic career, we can turn around attendance and achievement.”

During Attendance Awareness Month, the Sioux City Community School District and the Sioux City School Board are asking parents and guardians of students to help us reduce absenteeism locally by taking these steps:

  • Build a habit and a culture of regular attendance.
  • Let us know if there are challenges that make it difficult for students to attend school.

Now is the time to improve attendance so that students are prepared for success in the future.