September is National Attendance Awareness Month!

September is National Attendance Awareness Month and ACPS is excited to celebrate positive school attendance with you. An essential component of student success is consistent school attendance and we want to partner with parents and guardians to ensure that students attend school every day.

Did you know that…

  • positive school attendance habits are developed as early as kindergarten?
  • research shows that children who miss too many days in kindergarten and first grade are much less likely to read on grade-level by the end of third grade?
  • poor attendance in preschool can predict student absenteeism patterns in later grades?
  • by grade nine, school attendance habits can be a strong indicator of a students’ graduation or drop-out outcomes?
  • your child is less likely to succeed academically if he or she is chronically absent (missing 18 or more days in a school year)? Missing just one school day every two weeks can place your child at risk of academic failure.
  • an absence from school, regardless of the reason, results in missed instruction and class time? (AttendanceWorks.Org, 2015)

See what T.C. Williams High School Students have to say about school attendance.

Regular school attendance is not only an important part of your child’s academic achievement, it is required by law (Code of Virginia 22.1-254). ACPS strictly adheres to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Compulsory Attendance Law. This law mandates all school personnel to make reasonable efforts to contact a parent or guardian when a student is absent from school for a total of five school days or more within a school year, when absences are without excuse and or verification.

When students have accrued an excessive number of unexcused or unverified absences, the school social worker, along with the parent and other school support team members, must develop a plan to resolve the student’s non-attendance.

In an effort to support students in reaching their full potential, we encourage parents to ensure that their children are in school on time, every day. Tips for helping your child get to school on time every day include:

  • providing your children with a regular bedtime and morning routine.
  • assembling lunches, backpacks and school clothes the night before a school day.
  • avoiding scheduling vacations or doctor’s appointments when school is in session.
  • consulting with your school’s student support team (counselor, psychologist, or social worker) if your child feels anxious about going to school.

We realize that families often experience unavoidable or extenuating circumstances that impact attendance. In such cases, absences can be excused for the following reasons:

  • medical illnesses (physical or mental)
  • medical and dental examinations
  • observance of a religious holiday
  • student court hearings
  • approved participation in school sponsored activities (inside and outside of the school building)
  • in-school or out-of-school suspension
  • critical or isolated family emergencies (loss of a loved one, unexpected residence dislocation, critical injuries to family members, etc.).
  • ACPS transportation services related delays
  • weather-related conditions

Parents and guardians are expected to plan extended travel and vacations around ACPS scheduled breaks and approved holidays.

Ensuring positive school attendance is a collaborative involving students, ACPS staff and parents and guardians. Positive and consistent communication is a very important part of this collaborative process. If you have any concerns related to attendance, please connect with your school administrators, teachers, student support team members (psychologist, nurse, social worker and counselor), or the truancy outreach specialist for guidance.

Every student succeeds, when every student attends.

ACPS, ACPS 2020, Alexandria City High School, Minnie Howard, Video