Improving Attendance at Beech Grove Intermediate School:
A Recommendation Report
Introduction Like other schools around the nation, Beech Grove Intermediate School is experiencing a serious problem with attendance. This has been cited as a problem and something that needs to be addressed so that Beech Grove Intermediate can achieve the attendance rate they need to become a Four-Star status school. Currently, the attendance at Beech Grove Intermediate is averaging around 95 percent. The rate needs to increase to 97 percent for the school to achieve Four-Star status. Beech Grove Intermediate does have an attendance policy; however, other strategies could be implemented to increase the attendance. Attendance is an important part of children’s and parents’ everyday responsibilities, and poor attendance habits cause lifelong consequences. Many schools around the nation report low attendance and high tardiness rates. This problem needs to be addressed in order to help our children do well in school and become responsible adults. Children who are habitually late or chronically absent miss out on much that is learned in school. Even being 5 to 10 minutes late each day creates a situation where children can lose a considerable amount of time that is being spent on their schooling. Also, it is known that children with poor attendance rates in elementary and high school continue to show problems of tardiness and even proficiency later in life once they go to college or pursue a career. Changes in the attendance program at Beech Grove are needed, and the following report is intended to propose tactics for increasing the attendance rate at Beech Grove Intermediate School.
For this report we surveyed teachers from six local elementary and secondary schools to get an idea of what other schools were doing to increase their attendance. We received 50 completed questionnaires. We also searched scholarly databases such as ERIC to find relevant articles on the problem of increasing attendance. These articles outline several solutions to increasing attendance in schools.
Review of the Literature
This review of recently published literature on attendance addresses causes, effective policies, parental contact, community involvement, teacher/student relationships, and rewards and incentives to increase student attendance.
Causes of Absenteeism
All the literature agrees that absenteeism is an all too common problem for schools around the country. This can be traced to a range of causes from unsupportive school environment to poor health of the student. According to John Doughtery (1999), home dynamics play a key role in absenteeism. The parents are the key to how often a child attends class (Doughtery, 1999, p. 10). Janet Ford and Richard Sutphen (1996) agree with this and list parent influence on absenteeism as number two on their list for reasons for absence. They go on to state that lack of caring by the parents, or parents who are not home to see the child off to school are major reasons for students not to go to class, especially with younger students (Ford & Sutphen, 1996, p. 96). Other than home life, illness of the child is also given as a common reason for absenteeism in the literature. Also, appointments and vacations are listed as top reasons in the literature as well. Doughtery attests to this in saying, “It is now common practice for students to miss school for general appointments to avoid tests and assignments” (1999, p. 10). Two authors noted that homeless students or students who live in a family that move very frequently are more likely to be chronically absent from school (Epstien, Sheldon, 2002, p. 311). Some of the authors also agree that if a student is not succeeding in school then they are...
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