Avis Williams cropped 4

Avis Williams. 

At the start of each school year, I make a plea with our scholars and families to please attend school daily and on time. In fact, the entire month of September is dedicated to supporting efforts to improve students’ attendance and to reduce chronic absenteeism. Today, I want you to know that even in February, attendance still matters.

This week many schools are celebrating the 100th day of school. In each of our Team Selma schools we have numerous scholars who have attained the great honor and distinction of Perfect Attendance. That is worth celebrating!

At the other end of the spectrum, unfortunately, there are far too many young people who have already missed more 10 days. These scholars are well on their way to being chronically absent. This means that they have missed 10% of the days that they are required to be in school for any reason. Yes, even excused absences contribute to chronic absenteeism. So if we are at the 100th day, then missing 10 days at this point is a major warning sign.

Why does this matter? Over the long term, missing too much school has a direct correlation to increased rate of high school dropout, adverse health outcomes and poverty in adulthood. Furthermore, studies show that chronic absenteeism leads to an increased possibility of engaging with the criminal justice system. It matters

This is such a serious and concerning matter, that states are now required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to report and measure chronic absenteeism just as we do reading and math data. Attendance matters.

Did you know that when scholars miss school, it impacts not only them but their peers as well? It is true. Peers of absent scholars demonstrated negative achievement outcomes in a recent study. This is seen more markedly in the elementary grades when learning foundational skills are so vital. It matters.

Team Selma is committed to finding solutions to support our scholars. If attendance is a problem, we want to know why and how we can help. Even while learning remotely, or perhaps especially while learning remotely, we need our scholars in class, on time every day. Attendance matters.

In the coming weeks, look to learn about our efforts to support and provide advocacy for our scholars. We are committed ensuring that we offer a high quality, equitable education to all of our babies. Yes, attendance still matters. Families, please help us by ensuring that your child or children are present and accounted for in each class and every day. It matters.

In other news, Selma City Schools will remain remote due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our teachers and staff member are now eligible for the vaccine and many are getting the first round this week. Families are encouraged to stay in touch with their child’s school for the best information.

Additional updates will be provided moving forward as we continue to review data and seek guidance from experts. For now, please continue to engage in our “Doing Our Part Everyday” campaign. Let’s slow the spread of Covid-19. Stay safe and be DOPE.

For more information, please reach out to me at avis.williams@selmacityschools.org.

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