Q. Why are we so focused on attendance this year?
Elementary school attendance is one of the main predictors of a child’s future academic success. Additionally, elementary years’ absenteeism is one of the main predictors of a future drop-out rate. Sadly…
Without a doubt, we trust and recognize your authority in your children’s lives, just like my husband and I were the authority in the lives of our children when they were younger. Columbine and the district comply with the Colorado Attendance Law. The Attendance letters, which are automatically generated by the attendance system, serve as a record keeping, notifications and reminders to the families. Please know that not a single one of them accuses parents or intends to serve as such. We are parents ourselves, and our partnership with you is genuine.
We have learned that a few areas in the process need to be either clarified or changed. One of them is a requirement of a doctor’s note, which does create an unnecessary stress for the families (Please continue to keep sick little ones at home!) Thank you for your help in this area! We are actively seeking and listening to the feedback to improve our process. Every effort is made to take care of the school as an organization while taking care of every person along the way. This is just what you do in your families, and, as we all know, it is not an easy task. So far when we look at the entire school, the picture is not great. To see how many days more than half of all children have been absent from school through today (not counting tardies, and some of those are counted by 20s and 30s!) click HERE (no names!)
- Five absences (five tardies and/or early releases equal one absence) – Record sharing letter
- Eight absences – Letter of Concern. All future absence are coded FAB (Frequently Absent)
- Twelve absences – Chronic Absence Notification Letter. All future absences are coded CAB.
- Fourteen absences – the staff team (classroom teacher, grade-level team members, counselor, IRT, and the principal) review the situation for habitually Truant Recommendation. One of two outcomes happens here:
o not recommended” (i.e. we know that the child has been ill, special circumstances in the family, etc., etc. This is the vast majority of the students) – we continue to monitor, record and support the family
o “recommended” – Truancy Notification Letter is sent. The main point of the letter is to request a family-school meeting during which an Attendance Contract must be discussed and put into place. Absences continue to grow, violations of Attendance contract take place – Notice of Non-Compliance is delivered, and the school considers taking steps toward filing with Truancy Attorney.
While certain absences are clearly unavoidable (we are normal people, and life is life), the main point of attendance keeping is to record whether a child was present at or absent from school. (This is where we need to adjust the language that affects the vast majority of the families at the beginning of the process). When the numbers start to accumulate, the reasons become somewhat secondary (this becomes an issue for a much smaller percentage of the students). The questions that come to the forefront are: is the child falling behind, what needs to be done to catch the child up, who needs to be doing it, how it can be done, what are the implications for the next step, how many gaps are developing now, etc. etc. It may not be obvious in early years yet, but the academic gaps may/will start showing themselves and may/will grow rapidly later.
It is a standard procedure. If you are a parent that has no need in it, please ignore it. If you are a parent that might find it useful, please use it as you see fit.
Please contact Mrs. Wolken at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-2300. Also, thank you for any and all feedback. The more we learn about dynamics of this issue, the better we can communicate about it and manage it. Thank you very much!