Please let us know if your child will be absent for more than three consecutive days. Teachers, students, and families can work together to see to the student’s learning needs during the absence.
Students who have the best chance to succeed in school are generally those who attend school on a consistent basis. Regular school attendance is an essential part of the learning process and crucial to graduating from school with a strong foundation for further studies and a successful career.
- Chronic absenteeism is generally defined as missing ten percent or more of a school year, including excused and unexcused absences – which results in approximately 18 days a year, or about two days every month.
- Students who regularly miss school receive fewer hours of instruction, often leading to lower grades. In effective classrooms, instruction builds over time, and when students are not in attendance, they miss vital building blocks of information. Further, each absence, whether excused or unexcused, leaves students further and further behind, leading to the potential for more absences.
- Students who are absent also miss out on opportunities to grow and maintain important behavioural and social-emotional skills, and to create positive relationships with adults and other students in the school.
- In these, and many other ways, absenteeism can become a cycle.
- Evidence shows a strong correlation between poor attendance and the possibility that a student will drop out of school before completing their secondary education, leaving affected students more likely to become long-term unemployed, homeless, caught in the poverty trap, dependent on welfare, and involved in the justice system.2 Studies have shown that by 9th grade, students’ chances of graduating from high school drop by 20 percentage points for every week of school they miss.
- Chronic absence has been shown to be associated with a greater chance of students being involved in problematic behaviours outside of school, including substance abuse, early pregnancy, and disruptive or illegal activities – which often in turn leads to further attendance problems.
- In the long term, even if a student who was chronically absent does graduate from secondary school, the lower grades that often result from chronic absenteeism can leave the student with fewer opportunities for post-secondary and fulfilling employment opportunities.
The best way to address absenteeism is to make sure schools are places that students want to be – that is, safe, supportive, and engaging environments where students feel welcome and valued.