September is national Attendance Awareness Month – a time for recognizing why attending school every day (and on time!) is critical to student success. Research, anecdotes and common sense all confirm the erstwhile hunch — chronic absence (missing 18+ days of school each year) contributes to lower test scores and to the achievement gap.
Reducing chronic absence is among the priority solutions emphasized by the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which has nurtured the development of more than 200 community campaigns in 42 states to increase the number of low-income children reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
In honor of Attendance Awareness Month, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is holding a poster contest Sept.1-30 funded by The Patterson Foundation, which aims to raise awareness among students and parents about the importance of going to school every day.
The theme of this year’s contest is “Every Day Counts” — and it is open to every school-aged child in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Prizes will be awarded in October for each grade level at every public school and there is a special category for private school and home-schooled students.
Regional winners will be announced in January and will receive an Apple iPad Air. The School District of Manatee County and Sarasota County Schools are promoting the poster contest and encouraging students to participate. Poster templates are available at each public school or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although schools must be accountable for helping all children achieve and for providing effective teaching for all children in every classroom every day, we know and believe that schools cannot succeed alone. With support from families, community organizations, supporters and others – we can make a difference.