Consistent Attendance During the Middle- and High-School Years Is Important to Future Success

Attendance is an important life skill that will help your teen keep a job and graduate from college. By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.

By Anne E. Mead, Ed. D.

Missing 10 percent (just 2 days each month) can drastically affect a student’s academic success and the ability to gain credit at the high school level. Absences can be a sign that a teen is struggling with schoolwork or facing some other difficulty. Having daily conversations with your child is an easy way to identify any problems your child may be having. 

Keep your teen on track in middle and high school by staying healthy, ensuring your teen gets regular medical care from their physician or at one of our school-based health care clinics and receives the necessary immunization. Many long-term absences are attributed to extensive dental care. Having a yearly check-up to catch any early dental problems is important for your child. 

Knowing the discipline code for your school and making sure that your teen understands it too can cut down on issues around good attendance. If your teen is having trouble following the code, work with your school to find a solution. Check in often with your teen’s counselor about their academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if needed to understand work and complete assignments. All middle schools have afterschool programs that help students with homework, tutoring by teachers to stay on track, and multiple clubs and afterschool programs that your teen can join.

Talk to your teens about their social contacts and get to know their friends. Limit the amount of time your child is on social media. Look for out-of-school opportunities such as sports, dance, or other wellness activities for your child. Each weekend, through Parent Square, the district sends out a list of Danbury-based activities. Make sure your Parent Square account is up to date. If you are not sure about Parent Square, call 203-797-4734 for more information. 

Know the district’s attendance policy and the consequences of absences. Call your child’s school if absent. Learn the difference between excused and unexcused absences. Your child’s absences should only be for doctor/dental appointments, religious holidays, and illness. Limit any long trips to school vacations and summers. 

Start early with positive habits of school attendance. Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day so your teen knows this is your expectation. Encourage your students to maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework or getting a good night’s sleep. Post your teen’s class schedule and log-in information in a visible location, such as on the refrigerator or teen desk. Identify a quiet place for your student to participate in class and do schoolwork. 

Students who attend school every day have better grades and are well-prepared for the future. 

Anne E. Mead, Ed. D. is the Director of Family, School and Community Partnerships for Danbury Public Schools. She can be reached at 203-830-6508 or by email at