September is School Attendance Awareness Month

MARTINS FERRY — With the new school year underway across Ohio, it’s more important than ever that our students be in class every day ready to learn. Missing too much school has long-term, negative effects on students, such as lower achievement and graduation rates, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

Think about it this way — a student is chronically absent if he or she misses as few as two days of school a month. September is Attendance Awareness Month across the country and in Ohio. Our state is taking significant steps to address chronic absenteeism.

“The old saying goes, ‘If you miss a day, you miss a lot,’ and that couldn’t be more true,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction.

“With students heading back to class across the state, there’s no better time to have these important discussions about how we get our children to class every day ready to learn. Their futures depend on it.”

There are many reasons students miss school, but districts often can directly impact their students’ attendance.

By using data to identify and support students who may need extra support and services, districts can target supports to get students to school every day.

Parents can find strategies for building the habit of good attendance by clicking here. For specific ways to help middle and high school students stay on track, click here.

In December 2016, the Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill 410 to encourage and support a preventative approach to excessive absences and truancy.

Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, several changes take effect. Schools cannot suspend or expel students for missing too much school.

Districts will amend or adopt policies that outline their interventions and plans for students who miss too much school.