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9/5/2013 - September is Attendance Awareness Month

School Attendance Matters

School attendance is essential to academic success, but too often students, parents and schools do not realize how quickly absences - excused as well as unexcused - can add up to academic trouble. Chronic absence-missing 10 percent of the school year, or just 2-3 days every month-can translate into:

• third graders unable to master reading

• sixth graders failing courses and

• ninth graders dropping out of high school

The good news is that we can fix this problem. Chronic absence can be reduced when schools and communities partner to build a strong culture of attendance and work with students and families to identify barriers to getting to school. This work starts by helping everyone in a community recognize that they have a stake and a role in ensuring that students are in school every day so they can learn.

Starting this September, we are asking Waterbury families, schools and community partners to deliver the message that attendance matters for success in school and in life, and that absences can easily add up to academic trouble. While it is important to send a message throughout the year that attendance matters, the start of the school year is essential. Fall is when schools and communities lay out expectations for the coming year and can develop a culture of attendance that will continue throughout the year. Attendance Awareness Month in September will launch good practices all year long.

To help promote the Waterbury community's goals, download a copy of the Waterbury School Success Family Pledge, available in Spanish, English and Albanian from the Bridge to Success website resources page. Sign the pledge card with your child and keep it on hand throughout the school year as a reminder that you are committed to good attendance and reading skills. Also available are tips for helping your child build better attendance skills (English and Spanish) - click on for all downloadable copies.

The United Way has developed bookmarks available in English, Spanish and Albanian - please contact BTS at 203-754-0040 or email at if you would like us to send you some to give to families at your organization, or utilize at open houses or other community events.

Every Day Counts! Video - The Coalition of New Britain's Children produced a video entitled Every Day Counts! that answers families' questions about why preschool is important and the value of children attending pre-school every day. Click on the link to view the video:

Mayor O'Leary and Superintendent Ouellette encourage all city families to make a commitment to school attendance. They want you to know that attendance matters from the first day of school until the last day! Let's start the year off right.