Posted on December 18, 2023
Categories: Focus on FACE

On a rainy Monday morning at Farrell Elementary School, families gathered for an engaging Attendance workshop led by Jaime Serrano, a seasoned Family Engagement Liaison. Through an icebreaker and insightful presentation, Jaime highlighted the importance of consistent school attendance and reviewed the District’s attendance policy. Parents were eager to fill this knowledge gap and understand how they can better support their child’s attendance.

The District acts as a partner with families to help their children to attend school every day to strive to be the best student they can be. Attendance is a crucial component to their educational experience. When they begin to miss core instructional time, students:

  • Are less likely to be proficient in math and reading by 4th grade, which is when students are no longer learning to read but reading to learn.
  • Are less likely to graduate high school on time
  • Are more likely to drop out of school
  • Struggle to catch up with work.

During the presentation, Jaime expressed how imperative regular school attendance is to the overall well being of a child. Regular and consistent school attendance allows:

  • provides your child with the opportunities for discovery, exploration, learning and achievement they need to thrive
  • allows teachers to best support your child’s academic progress and their unique learning styles and abilities
  • offers students real-time access to the technology and other educational resources they need to engage in their education
  • leads to daily interactions with teachers, peers and support staff who help students develop friendships, learn more about themselves, build empathy, and better handle stress. This is especially important for children with diverse learning needs.

As the workshop neared its end, Jaime clarified the difference between excused and unexcused absences, which many parents were unfamiliar with. Excused absences are when a student is absent from school for a reason identified as legitimate, valid, and reasonable, such as quarantine/illness, death in family, college tours, etc,. These absences require a written note from the parent or guardian to be submitted to the school. An unexcused absence, however, occurs when there is no written explanation upon the student’s return or the reason is considered invalid by the school and District’s guidelines (e.g., babysitting, oversleeping, family vacations, etc,).

Jaime stressed the vital connection between class attendance and academic success, resonating with families to improve their grasp of the attendance policy. The workshop aimed to bolster the bond between families and the school, creating an environment for students to thrive. For more attendance information and resources , visit philasd.org/attendtoday or contact your school’s Family Engagement Liaison.

A big thank you to Jaime for graciously allowing Focus on FACE to observe her during this exceptional workshop.