With Attendance Awareness month coming to a close I think it is important to keep striving for attendance in school. I also thought I would share with you my school attendance story. When I was younger I loved school; I thrived to make new friends and learn new things. However, after kindergarten school became harder to attend. Research shows that kids who miss two days of school a month are less likely to graduate from high school. In my opinion, children don’t start out not wanting to go to school – there is always an underlying factor. These may include anxiety or illness. It doesn’t matter whether absences are unexcused or excused, missing more than two days of school a month will significantly slow a child’s early development.

While in elementary school I started to get sick constantly. I would try to go to school, but 85% of the time I would go home sick in the middle of the day. Teachers thought I was making up the pain, and my mom believed it to be anxiety due to bullying. It did have a little to do with bullying but it was much more than that. After years of seeing doctors and having tests run I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that was causing me to be sick. When all was said and done I missed a lot of school and the older I got the harder it became to catch up. It would take me twice as long to get my homework done because I missed class and didn’t have concepts explained to me, therefore it was almost impossible for me to do homework. It took a lot of early morning tutoring sessions to get caught up.

An interesting fact is that two of the grades with the highest number of absences are Kindergarten and first grade. These are the most important times for children to be in school because it helps them build a foundation of learning and helps teach children at a young age about showing up when you make a commitment, which is something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Luckily teachers working in the Bellevue and Lake Washington school district want to help every child succeed. With the resources and support it is possible for every child to succeed in school.