Campaign for Better Attendance

Dinosaurs Welcome Students to School
Posted on 01/12/2018
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In an effort to showcase the value of coming to school and being on time, Carson Middle School administrators, social workers and safe school professionals are taking a positive approach to motivate students. Last Monday, January 8, the first day back from the holidays, students were welcomed by school officials dressed in dinosaur suits holding giant banners and delivering cheers and “High Fives.” Informational flyers of upcoming important events and reminders were also distributed.

Parents and students alike visibly enjoyed seeing the dinosaurs and banners. The school plans to welcome students back in similar fashion this coming Tuesday, January 16, following the 3-day weekend in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

National data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights found that more than 6.5 million students (13%) missed 15 or more days of school (nearly a month of school) during an academic school year.

“Many parents or guardians of students in our community are often unaware of the Nevada laws that require children to be in school,” said Alice Valdez, truancy and dropout prevention specialist for Carson City School District. “Nationwide, more than 30 percent of students are chronically absent.”

According to NRS 392.040, except as otherwise provided by law, each parent, custodial parent, guardian or other person in the State of Nevada having control or charge of any child between the ages of 7 and 18 years shall send the child to a public school during all the time the public school is in session in the school district in which the child resides unless the child has graduated from high school.

Too many missed days of school, regardless of whether absences are excused or unexcused, can leave children falling behind in reading and math. Research publicized by initiatives such as the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading show that starting in kindergarten, students who are chronically absent, (typically defined as missing 10% or more of school) are less likely to read by the third grade.

Similarly, chronic absence is also an early warning sign of failing courses in middle school leading to a greater chance of dropping out of high school. Chronic absences are especially challenging for low-income students whose academic achievement is affected the most by missed instructional time in the classroom.

“I've made it part of my job to help educate families about the importance of avoiding unnecessary absences and help families overcome challenges in getting to school,” Valdez said. “I often find underlying issues to chronic absenteeism such as lack of health care, unstable housing, drug abuse and many other issues which I find resources to help in these areas. Carson City School District is proactively dealing with the situation with home visits and intervention. The biggest thing is helping families to understand and address the barriers that keep children from getting the education they deserve.”

Other community benefits of better student attendance include a decrease in crime. The old adage: ‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop’ certainly holds true.

“When our students are at their desks in school, our community is safest,” said Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong.

For more information about attendance and truancy requirements, please contact the principal’s office at your child’s individual school.