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Positive Attendance Is Vital to Student Success

Positive Attendance Is Vital to Student Success

September is Attendance Awareness Month, reminding all of us that positive attendance is a top priority at Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS). The school division has formed a leadership task force in an effort to closely monitor and put emphasis on student attendance as being a pre-K-12 commitment.

“Positive attendance habits during the pre-K-12 years put students on the path toward good future habits in college, career and lifelong success,” ACPS Superintendent Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt said. Dr. Kay-Wyatt has identified addressing absenteeism and increasing student engagement as a key priority in her transition plan.

Regular attendance is achieved when a child is in school 95% of the school days. This means incurring no more than nine absences for any reason throughout the school year.

When students attend school regularly and on time, they:

  • Build strong relationships with peers and teachers.
  • Enjoy being a part of the school and classroom community.
  • Receive daily instruction that can’t be made up afterwards.
  • Feel a sense of pride in their school work and all they have learned.

This ACPS video further underscores the benefits of school attendance and the consequences when a student is not in class.

Did you know?

  • Attending school every day in pre-K, kindergarten and early elementary school grades increases the likelihood that a child will read on grade level.
  • Absences can lead to lower academic achievement due to missed instruction, regardless of whether the absence is excused or unexcused.
  • Regular attendance helps to increase a student’s likelihood of graduating from high school on time.

Absences can be a sign a student is having difficulty with school work, facing peer conflicts or starting to question their ability to be successful at school. This is an opportunity for school staff and family members to collaborate to best support the student. If your student has a specific need regarding attendance, help is available. ACPS families should contact their child’s school for support.

Here are a few tips for keeping your child on track to success:

  • Establish a bedtime and morning routine.
  • Communicate with your child’s school about attendance.
  • Check your child’s attendance regularly on PowerSchool (secondary).
  • Talk with your child about their favorite part of the school day and about their friends.
  • Place limits on social media/cell phone use throughout the night.
  • Plan trips only when students are not in school.

While ACPS expects students to be in school and on time daily, please let your child stay home when they are sick. Illness guidelines can be found on the Office of Student Support Teams’ webpage. If your child is sick in the morning and you are unsure if they should go to school, call your school’s nurse to discuss your child’s symptoms and they will be able to provide guidance. Also, if your child is repeatedly feeling ill in the morning and then feels better later in the day or just doesn’t want to go to school, contact your school’s social worker or nurse for support.

"When students miss school, they are missing out,” ACPS Truancy Outreach Specialist Hope Murphy said. “And we are missing them!"

For more information about the ACPS attendance policy and how the school division can help families with any challenges they may face with student attendance, please visit the Department of Student Services and Equity’s webpage.

  • 2023-24
  • Department of Student Services and Equity
  • superintendent