Dear Team AISD,
September is National Attendance Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to remind our community about the importance of being in class every day.
When students aren’t in class, they have to work twice as hard to catch up with the material that they missed. Teachers lose class time helping those students catch up. And, the district loses state funding—about $45 per day—for every day that a student has an unexcused absence.
In 2010, AISD launched its own attendance campaign—Every Day Counts. During the past three years, our focus on improving attendance has produced results. Gains have been strong, especially at the high school level. Since 2010, attendance has:
- increased at the high school level from 90.7 percent to 92.5 percent in 2012
- increased in middle schools from 94.7 percent to 96 percent in 2012; and
- increased at the elementary level from 96.1 percent to 96.3 percent in 2012.
These improvements have generated more than $5 million in additional state funding, which can be invested in the classroom. If we had 100 percent attendance, our district would receive about $30 million more per year under the new state finance system.
As part of our work to improve daily attendance, the district has launched the second year of an attendance incentive campaign for students and staff members in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin. Schools with improved staff and student attendance will be rewarded with vouchers for staff to attend UT athletic events. We’ll kick off the program Friday, Sept. 27, at the Texas Soccer match against TCU at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
AISD also is proud to be a part of the regional Missing School Matters campaign, organized by E3 Alliance, to improve student attendance throughout Central Texas. Our whole region will reap the benefits when more of our students and families are aware of the importance of attending school every day.
Regular school attendance is a habit that needs to be developed early in a child’s life, as early as pre-kindergarten, and reinforced over the years. We cannot wait until students are in high school to educate them about the importance of being in class. For information on how you can make a difference, including tips for parents, please view AISD’s Every Day Counts page.
With your help, we will continue to see improvements in daily attendance and, ultimately, student learning. Remember, every day counts.
Thank you for all that you do.