How Can I Help My Child?
It's a fact that students who attend school regularly, learn more and are more successful than students who do not. Parents who make regular school attendance a priority also are helping their children learn to accept responsibility.
Attendance patterns are formed early in life. Children who develop good attendance habits in the early grades will be more likely to continue them throughout their school careers. Here are some ways to support your child's good attendance.
10 Tips for Good Attendance
- Get your child to school on time, every day, and make sure homework assignments are completed on time.
- Absences due to car trouble, a late bus, and bad weather are considered Unexcused and will go on your child's permanent record.
- Extended vacations, long weekends, and frequent doctor appointments scheduled during school hours will cause your child to fall behind in class.
- Being in school every day raises your child's chances for scoring well on important tests throughout the year.
- Follow the proper school guidelines for reporting Excused absences in a timely manner.
- Allow your child to stay home only when he/she has a contagious illness or is too sick to be comfortable.
- Make sure your child exercises, eats a balanced diet, and gets plenty of sleep. This will help him/her to be mentally and physically ready to learn, and strengthen the immune system.
- Read all information sent home by the school. Post important dates on a family bulletin board or on the refrigerator.
- Give your child enough time to get ready for school in the morning. Prepare lunches, pack school bags, and lay out clothing the night before.
- Monitor your child's attendance through Parent Self Serve (https://grades.austinisd.org).
What To Do If Your Child Refuses To Go To School
It is well known that the adolescent years are particularly stressful years for students, and making the move from elementary to middle school and middle school to high school can bring about behaviors that were not present before. Despite this transition, you can help your child by immediately taking one or more of the following actions:
- Check report cards for absences, low conduct marks and grades;
- Call the school if you think your child has been skipping school or has been truant;
- If the school calls you, DO NOT COVER UP to get your student off the hook. You are only teaching them that there are no consequences for breaking rules.
Remember that teenagers need parents who care enough to enforce rules and are available to provide help when it's needed.
What To Do If Your Child Needs Extra Support
There are many district and community support services available to help you and your child with issues that may be affecting their attendance. For example, all AISD schools have an Impact team lead by an Assistant Principal or Principal. Impact Teams work with teachers, students, parents, and other caring adults to help develop an intervention plan to help address student attendance, academic and behavior concerns non-responsive to teacher or school-wide interventions. The team is comprised of teachers, counselors, nurse, school community liaison, parent support specialist, and other support service representatives assigned to a specific campus (e.g., Communities In Schools, Dropout Prevention Specialist, etc...)
Please call your school principal to develop a plan to ensure your child is in school every day. To request an Impact Team meeting, call the student's school and ask to speak with the Impact Team Chair.
What Else Can I Do?
Value education and give it high priority in your family! Convey a positive attitude about school and treat going to school as part of the normal course of events, something that is expected of your child. Let him know that school is the most important thing in his life at this time, and that his future job opportunities will depend on how well he handles his present "job" (school). Help him develop good study and work habits and praise him when he is successful. Get to know your child's friends as they have more influence with him at this time in his life than you do. Get personally involved in school activities, go to sporting events, attend plays and concerts, join the PTA/PTO, volunteer, read the school paper. Know what's going on at school.
Questions You Should Ask
If you are concerned about the attendance rate at your school, here are some questions you might ask your principal and your school's parent teacher association (PTA):
- Does the school provide a welcoming atmosphere for students and parents?
- Do students feel safe at school?
- What actions does the school take to follow up on students who are absent?
- Do teachers call parents when students are frequently absent?
- Does the school know why students are absent? The school cannot address the problem if administrators don't understand the causes.
- Has the school taken steps to forge a positive relationship with local law enforcement, business and community members to work together to encourage students to come to school?
- Does the school reward students for good attendance?
- What can parents do to help the school encourage all students to attend?
Please remember: EVERY DAY COUNTS!