LETTER TO PARENTS FROM SUPERINTENDENT CHRISTENSEN
The Redwood City School District is launching an initiative this year to improve student attendance. Recent Stanford research examining truancy and chronic absenteeism in Redwood City finds that chronic absence is associated with lower student academic achievement as well as subsequent chronic absence problems. Truancy and chronic absenteeism can lead to students dropping out of school, failing school, and juvenile delinquency.
We want all of our students to succeed academically, so this year we are increasing communication with families whose students are missing school, and we will work more closely with families to improve attendance.
All students occasionally miss school because they are ill, and we do not want you to send your children to school if they have a contagious illness. But we also want you to be aware that missing school even occasionally for reasons other than illness can affect your child’s learning. One missed day of school can mean two days of falling behind. Missing school makes it more difficult for a child to stay on track with assignments and every day in school is another chance for a child to learn something new.
Student attendance also affects the amount of resources available to your child’s school. About 1/3 of the money that the State of California provides to the Redwood City School District to educate your children is based on attendance (sometimes referred to as ‘average daily attendance’ or ADA). Our school district loses about $50 for every day a student misses school, even when the absence is excused for health or personal reasons. The more parents and students focus on attendance, the more schools can provide proper staffing, services and programs for students.
We want to improve student learning, and increase the amount of resources available to educate your child. Therefore, we will notify you when your student has 3 or more days of unexcused absences or accumulates a total of 10 or more excused absences, and we will continue to contact you if your child’s attendance does not improve. If you receive these letters, we will work with you to find solutions to address attendance and discuss what may occur if unexcused or excessive absences continue.
Working together we can improve our children’s attendance, a critical factor for continued success in school and onward into adulthood.