2017-12-07 / Community

MAS News

Maryann Boddy

According to the website Attendance Matters (www.attendanceworks.org), across the country, more than 7 million students are missing so many days of school that they are academically at risk. Chronic absence – missing 10 percent or more of school days due to absence for any reason – excused, unexcused absences and suspensions, can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing subjects and ninth-graders dropping out of high school.

Just last week Michigan’s Every Student Succeeds Act application was accepted by Education Secretary, Betsy DeVoss. With the complete rollout of the ESSA this school year, states have been presented with the task of submitting accountability plans to the U.S Department of Education that must include four academic indicators and a fifth that measures school quality or student success.

Michigan will be using attendance as the fifth measure.

The Michigan revised school code recognizes an educational value in regular attendance at school.

The code states that classroom attendance instills a concept of self-discipline, exposes a student to group interactions with teachers and fellow students, and enables a student to hear and participate in class discussion and other related learning experiences.

So why is all of this important? Among other things, Michigan is one of the 15 states plus the District of Columbia to have adopted a Third-Grade Reading Retention Law. Starting in 2020, a third-grader who doesn’t meet a certain reading proficiency level will have to repeat that grade.

There is a great deal of research and data that supports the importance of regular school attendance. To that end, Manistique Area Schools has gone to great lengths to initiate automated phone calls to parents when children are absent from school and that absence is not verified with the school.

Parents of students in grades K-12 are also notified of chronic absences via office generated attendance letters which are sent out on a regular basis.

Families of students attending Manistique Area Schools need to understand that school attendance is required and parents of students who do not attend school regularly are at risk of being referred to law enforcement for allowing their children to be truant.

The guidance that the district will be using to refer families for truancy is those who miss more than 10 percent of the school year or 10 days per semester - 20 days per school year.

If you have concerns about your child’s attendance we encourage you to be proactive and contact the school offices to discuss your concerns.

Ultimately, it is the legal obligation of parents to ensure that their children are attending school regularly as regular school attendance is the best indicator of school success.

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