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Why We Strive For Less Than 5

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 initiated “Strive for Less Than Five” 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 percent of the school day to be counted as present. So, if students are not at school for 63 percent of the school day they will be counted as absent, and they will not be counted toward the District's Average Daily Attendance. Average Daily Attendance is a factor used by the legislature to determine funding for public schools in the state.

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, students who have a mentor are more likely to be involved extracurricular activities, graduate from high school, and enroll in college.

In keeping with our belief that building stronger schools is a community-wide effort, chronic absence can be solved when we work together. Addressing the issue takes our commitment and collaboration. As we do, graduation rates will improve, academic achievement will increase, and young people in our community will have the best chance at success in their adult lives.