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Attendance Matters: Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow

The School District of La Crosse recognizes that good attendance is essential to not only academic success, but future success beyond school. But far too many students are at risk academically because they are chronically absent. Chronic absence is described as missing 10 percent of the school year—or about 18 days (two days a month) – for any reason, excused or unexcused. Research shows that the 10% threshold is when absenteeism can substantially affect outcomes for a child.

Starting as early as kindergarten or even preschool, chronic absence predicts lower 3rd grade reading scores. By middle school, it’s a warning sign that students may fail key classes and potentially drop out of high school. We believe that good school attendance is a critical piece to a child’s education, as well as a critical predictor of future success.

As a school district we are committed to:

  • Engaging students and their families to support them in attending school each day they are well and able to be at school
  • Make schools and classrooms a welcoming and inclusive place
  • Identify and address barriers to getting children to school or barriers that exist for a student within the school
  • Using data to determine when a student is at risk for chronic absenteeism

What you can do as a parent or caregiver (from Attendance Works):

  • Build a habit and a culture of regular school attendance…it matters in every grade!
  • Reach out to your child’s teacher or other staff at their school to talk about academic or social concerns you may have for your child
  • Establish healthy bedtime and morning routines for adequate sleep and a smooth morning transition to school. Layout clothes and pack backpacks the night before
  • Have a back-up plan for getting to school if something comes up. Call a relative, friend or another family to help.
  • Find out if your child feels engaged by their classes, and feel safe at school
  • Try to schedule non-emergent medical appointments and extended vacations outside of school time
  • Stay on top of your child’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.
  • Encourage your child to join meaningful after-school activities like clubs and sports (financial assistance is available from your school if this is a concern)

If regular school attendance is a concern for you and your family, there are resources that can help.

  • Reach out to your child’s teacher or other trusted school staff to discuss your concerns or the barriers that are making getting to school difficult. School staff can help problem solve if there are academic concerns, anxiety around coming to school, social concerns for your child at school and other barriers like transportation and family schedules.
  • The School District of La Crosse partners with other community agencies to help address barriers that may be present. School staff can help refer you and your family to these support services.
  • If your family is experiencing unstable housing and this is affecting the ability to get your child to school, your child’s school social worker or counselor can help!

If transportation is a concern:

  • Contact GoRiteway (608-881-6370) to inquire if there is an available route for your child(ren).
  • The city bus system has semester passes available for students.
  • Talk with your child’s school to see if there are organized Walking School Buses so your child can walk to school with other students and adults
  • Talk with your child’s school if you need help with appropriate winter gear or access to a bike and bike lock