That’s why I was surprised when a group of school, nonprofit and government professionals on the Salt Lake County Mayor Appointed board “Commission on Youth” (COY) were so concerned about elementary school attendance.
But it turns out, missed school days in elementary
school can have lasting effects in a student’s education.
- Chronic absenses in kindergarten can lead to lowest levels of educational achievement in the 5th grade!
- Children who miss 2 or more days in a month acheive 25% less than their peers academically
- Truancy in elementary school can lead to excessive missed days in middle and high school
- Ability to read by 3rd grade directly correlates to high school graduation
Even though attendance is a key to future education success, many seats are still left empty. An average of 5,500 elementary students are missing throughout the five Salt Lake County school districts each school day. Throughout the course of a school year, that adds up to 1 million missed days, just in elementary school!
Bottom line: attendance matters! Every student, every day, every grade counts. That is why COY has organized an awareness campaign called NEST – No Empty Seats Today!
No Empty Seats Today!
The goal is to help parents, schools and the community be aware of the importance of school attendance and to increase attendance by 10 percent on April 13, 2011. There are 41 schools in the five Salt Lake County school districts who are participating in the first annual campaign.
Each school will organize their own events around the day. Orange is an established color for attendance in the Salt Lake City school district and was thus selected as the campaign color. Students will be given orange NEST silicon bracelots, eating orange-themed lunch food and even given orange t-shirts.
A kick off event will be held on April 13 at Washington Elementary School in Salt Lake with Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and representatives from each of the five districts, law enforcement, juvenile court and other community organizations. Best of all, the school with the most improved attendance in each school district will be awarded cash prizes!
The spring NEST campaign is a good start, but the COY members hope to expand the campaign even further. If you would like to volunteer, sponsor the campaign or get your school or organization involved, contact us!
What ideas do you have to improve school attendance?