During the beginning of the school year, expectations are being set for the year to come, which is a prime opportunity to establish a foundation for consistent attendance. As one of the primary solutions of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, strengthening strong connections between good attendance and student achievement starts with prevention.
The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading 2nd annual attendance awareness poster contest is underway within Manatee and Sarasota County schools. The theme of the contest is “Every Day Counts.” Each student in Manatee and Sarasota counties has the opportunity to create a poster with artwork and messaging that positively teaches the importance of good attendance.
According to Attendance Works and the Everyone Graduates Center, more than 6.5 million students, or about 13 percent, missed three or more weeks of school during a single school year, which is enough time to erode their achievement and threatens their chances of graduating. Over half were in elementary or middle school.
Studies show that missing just 10 percent or more of school – whether absences are excused, unexcused or due to suspension– predicts lower levels of literacy for students by third grade, class failure in middle school and can lead to a higher likelihood that students will drop out of high school.
The poster contest is more than just artwork — it is a positive, engaged way for students to take ownership of the important message that coming to school every day is important to their overall achievement. It helps create an environment of learning in their classroom and beyond. It provides the school districts with extra support and knowledge that everyone plays a role in a child’s success.
As one elementary school counselor said to me recently, “I love this project, and I am so glad the school board and Suncoast Campaign are working together to better the education of our students. We are all on top of it. We can only educate our students if they are here, and this truly is the first step to a well-educated child. EVERY DAY DOES COUNT…”