Being Present Article Graphic

Did you know a student is chronically absent from school if he or she misses as few as two days of school per month? Missing 18 days in one academic year, no matter the reason, can influence whether a child reads proficiently by the end of 3rd grade, by 6th grade is one of the three signs a student may drop out of high school, and by 9th grade is a better predictor of a student’s ability to graduate from high school than any other factor.


Did you know that irregular attendance is the best predictor of whether a student will drop out of school before graduation? It is. And attendance and dropout rates have ramifications that go beyond the classroom. Compared to their peers who graduate, students who fail to complete high school are more likely to live in poverty, earn less income, suffer poor health, and become involved in the criminal justice system.


Why is being present so important? Every day missed is an essential day of instruction and classroom interaction with students and teachers that can’t be recovered. If too many students are absent, it also slows down instruction for all students, while the teacher repeats material for absent students. There are many factors that prevent students from attending school (health issues, social-economic hardships, bullying, transportation), which over the last two years the current pandemic has made much worse.


Whatever the barriers or obstacles that might be causing your student not to attend on a regular basis, Farmington Municipal Schools is here to help. If your child is missing more than 2 days a month please reach out to your school or to me and we can work together on a plan. Honest and open communication is the first step to getting your child back on track. As regular attendance improves so does your child's academic prospects and the chance for graduation.


About the contributor: Matthew Smith is the FMS Drop-out Prevention Specialist. Before coming to FMS, Mr. Smith worked in Higher Education for 12 years in various roles while earning a Master’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in School Counseling. Mr. Smith has been with FMS for almost a year.