Return to Headlines

Attendance Matters: Strive for Less Than Five

October 21, 2019

Attendance Matters: Strive for Less Than Five
Watch Strive for Less Than Five produced by JPS ITV.

Did you know that poor school attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade and that chronic absence becomes a factor in a student’s decision to drop out of school as early as the sixth grade?

Recognizing the connection between good school attendance and academic achievement, Jackson Public Schools has initiated "Strive for Less Than Five," a campaign designed to educate and motivate the District’s students and employees to commit to limiting absences from school to less than five days this year.

The good news is that as students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects. Good school attendance means students don’t miss vital classroom instruction and information, and at test time, they have more confidence to be successful.

Chronic student absence impacts the whole District. Mississippi law requires students to be in attendance 63% of the school day to be counted as present. So, if students are not at school for 63% of the school day they will be counted as absent, and they will not be counted toward the District's Average Daily Attendance, which is a factor used to determine funding for public schools.

Everyone can help improve student attendance and the resulting positive outcomes for our students. Parents can mitigate absences by deferring early dismissals of students until after 2 p.m. for appointments and other necessary activities.

Members of the community can also play a big role in reducing chronic absences. A caring adult who shows an interest in a scholar’s school attendance impacts how they value school. According to AttendanceWorks.org, students who have a mentor are more likely to be involved in extracurricular activities, graduate from high school, and enroll in college.

Chronic absence can be solved when we work together. Addressing the issue takes our commitment and collaboration. As we do, we will see graduation rates improve, academic achievement increase, and young people in our community will have the best chance at success in their adult life.