Danbury Public Schools Champions “Showing Up Together” an Attendance Awareness Campaign

Children who have many unexcused absences from school are at risk for academic failure. “I need students in their seats learning every day,” says Danbury Superintendent Kevin Walston.

By Anne E. Mead, Ed. D.

When students are absent, they are missing developing critical skills, such as learning to read and write, and the development of social skills; furthermore, they may miss the many other services that the school provides. 

Showing up on time every day is important to your child’s success. Missing 10 percent, or about two days each month over the course of a school year, can make it harder to learn to read, build relationships, and develop good attendance habits. Students should miss no more than nine days of school each year to stay on track for graduation. By the 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school. By the 9th grade, attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th-grade test scores.

Unexcused absences are defined as days when a child is absent without a parent reporting why. Schools understand that children get ill and need to recover at home. However extended vacations and allowing a good child to stay home when they feel like it does not set good habits for school and work life.

The first weeks back to school are an important time to strengthen and forge relations, to rebuild routines and rituals that create community at your school. Students who are absent don’t just affect themselves but the entire class. Teachers work especially hard the first few weeks to create a sense of belonging in the classroom. When students are absent, they are missing the important relationship-building activities. 

Parents and families are essential partners in promoting good attendance because they have the bottom-line responsibility for making sure their children get to school every day. Just as parents should focus on how their children are performing academically, they have a responsibility to set expectations for good attendance and to monitor their children’s absences. Parents can help get their children to school on time every day by alerting the school to any barriers that prevent a child from attending school. 

Know the attendance policy. Check on your child’s attendance to be sure absences are not adding up. Seek help from school staff if you need support. If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers or school counselors. Schedule doctor and dentist appointments after school, schedule extended vacations during summer breaks, and find out about safety and health precautions taking place at your child’s school to help keep them healthy. 

This year, Family Liaison and personnel from the school will be making home visits to provide resources to help families if absenteeism is occurring. Start off the school year by sharing with your child that we are all part of “Showing UP Together.” If you need further assistance, call the FACE Family & Community Engagement Center at 203-797-4734. 


Anne E. Mead, Ed. D. is the Director of Family, School & Community Partnerships for Danbury Public Schools. She can be reached at 203-830-6508 or by email at meadan@danburyu.k12.ct.us