Going to school every day is the first step for student success in school -- and life!
Schools and families are partners in keeping students focused on good attendance and strong academic performance.
Ask someone at the school when you have questions or concerns about absences. Below are some important points about student attendance, followed by tips and sources of help. You can also read keys to understanding student attendance in NYC schools (link to Schools and Attendance Policies Page )
Did you know you can follow student attendance online?
Parents and guardians can register for a NYC Schools Account either at a school or online. If you have children in different (public) schools, you only need one account and use the same password.
Every absence counts. Excused absences are still absences.
A school can excuse absences when a student is not in school for religious, medical or emergency reasons. An excused absence is still part of the student’s record. Ask the school for its policies on absences, late arrivals, and early dismissal, which ones are considered "excused," and what to do if your student has to be late, miss school, or leave school early. Schools can correct mistakes in attendance records, but only in the current school year.
There is no regulation that a student must have a specific attendance rate for promotion or graduation.
However, it is more likely that a student who misses school will have lower grades, test scores and may not meet the academic standards for promotion or graduation. Ask for the school's grading policies. If your student must miss school, it is the family's responsibility to work with the school to keep up with course work and transition back to school.
The Public Schools Athletic League PSAL requires 90% attendance for participation , but that excludes excused absences. We also advise schools not to count excused absences in calculating attendance for the purposes of school attendance recognition, or for participation in other school activities.
The school calendar is a tool for good attendance.
Use it to plan trips, vacations and appointments for times when school is not open. Know when report cards are distributed and the dates for parent-teacher conferences. Ask your school if it has a calendar that includes school activities like concerts and trips or testing so you can ask your student about the activities. By showing an interest and talking with students about school, families encourage good attendance.
Being on time matters.
Being frequently or consistently late to school is a cause for concern, as much as being frequently absent. Schools can apply consequences to lateness. The school will expect you to be a partner to make sure your student gets to school on time. However, it is always better to come to school late than to miss the whole day.
Why do we want to see students in school every day?
So that they succeed! Research shows that students who are chronically absent - missing about 19 days or more in a school year - are less likely to graduate from high school. This includes students who miss just two days a month. In addition, national testing data shows that students with more absences score lower on standardized tests, no matter their age, demographic group, or state or city.
- Chronic absenteeism is related to lower test scores and higher dropout rates for students at all income levels;
- By sixth grade, chronic absence is one of three early warning signs that a student will drop out of high school; and,
- By ninth grade, attendance can be a better indicator of dropout than eighth grade test scores.
Visit Every Student Present
to learn more about absenteeism and how schools and families can support good attendance.
Common Reasons Students Miss School
Download these tips and ideas
Does your student miss school because of transportation problems?
- Get information about school bus routes and eligibility for student MetroCards at the Office of Pupil Transportation .
- Try an alternate route. You can find the best way to get to school by public transportation with tripplanner.mta.info .
- Ask the school if there is a “walking school bus” or a group of families who can share responsibility for taking students to school or walking them home.
- If your student relies on a yellow bus to get to school, make sure the school has updated contact information on record for you so you can be notified of route changes.
- Set routines, like laying clothes out the night before, to make mornings more manageable and to leave on time.
- Talk with the school parent coordinator if you have other travel concerns.
Does your student miss school because of physical or mental health issues?
- Speak with the school parent coordinator, social worker, guidance counselor, or nurse to find ways to manage health issues and keep students in school. Keep students in good health with a good diet and enough exercise and sleep.
- Check the DOE School Health site to learn about available services and for information about immunizations, links to general health programs and benefits available to all New Yorkers.
- Asthma is a major cause of absences. Work with your school to plan how to manage your student's asthma. Complete the Asthma Action Plan with your school.
- If your student takes medication, complete the Medical Administration Form (MAF).
- Your child might be eligible for a 504 accommodation , for temporary (broken limb) or episodic impairments (asthma). You can request accommodations like a barrier-free site or extra breaks during the day so your student can stay in school.
- The NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Health page has links to resources for Child Wellness , as well as for children with special healthcare needs and links to learn more about health insurance and benefits.
- Find a list of school-based health centers that provide free, quality medical care to students regardless of insurance or immigration status.
- Find out about mental health services for students with emotional or behavioral issues. The Citywide Mental Health & Social Services for NYC Youth flyer has hotlines and contacts for many services.
- Home instruction or hospital instruction is available for students who cannot attend school because of a medical or physical condition, or a severe emotional or psychological disability.
Does your student want to stay home and miss school--and you are not sure why?
- Students who are behind in their schoolwork are more likely to want to skip school. Meet with the teacher or counselor and ask about the student's academic progress. Ask about tutoring programs or, possibly, evaluations for special services. Use Homework Resources to find available homework help services like Dial-a-Teacher or Ask Dr. Math to help your student keep up with classwork.
- Families of high school students are encouraged to know the graduation requirements and complete and update a Diploma Requirements Worksheet so you know exactly where the student is toward graduation. (Note: 1-8 across the top refer to the eight terms in a student's 4-year high school career.)
- Families can always encourage academic progress through simple habits like talking about school every day; setting and keeping routines at home (for example, standard meal and bed times, weekly chores); having books in the house or making regular visits to the library; and celebrating school achievement.
- Look at the programs at DYCD Youth Connect or call 800-246-4646 to ask about after-school programs, tutoring services, and job or internship opportunities for young people.
- Encourage your student to talk to you about what is happening in school and if there is bullying, or if your student may be the target of cyber bullying. Learn about the Respect for All program and what families can do to help. Visit the school and talk with the guidance counselor or other staff about your concerns about bullying or how to manage your student's social media use.
- Find out more about teen health and mental health issues your child may be dealing with.
If you need help managing a student who skips school, visit a Family Assessment Program (FAP) office in your borough . You may be able to receive crisis intervention services, family counseling, mediation or other supports. This is a program within ACS but families do not need to be ACS involved to participate.
Other ways schools can help you with student attendance:
- Ask the school counselor to set up a "contract" with your student with goals for attendance, and rewards and consequences.
- Set up a time to talk with the parent coordinator or school counselor about attendance and any concerns.
- Ask about counseling services or a mentor for your student.
- Know your child's interests (arts or sports?) and ask about after school or extra-curricular programs to help keep your student engaged in school.
- For high school students, ask if a different set of classes could help your student, or about co-op programs or other opportunities that support students who work or have other responsibilities. Ask about the other ways for students who are 17 or older can graduate: Help for Students Exploring other Ways to Graduate
- Let your school know what your family and student needs (housing, healthcare, school supplies, clothes, toiletries). There are resources for families and, for families in temporary housing, it is your right.
for help getting students to school
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