Improving student attendance
See ASD's strategic plan, Destination 2020, for details.
What do our students think of school attendance? We asked them why they miss school, what motivates them to attend and what ASD staff can do to engage them and help them see the importance of coming to school every day. Watch on YouTube, On-Demand.
A missed school day is a lost opportunity for students to learn. There is a direct correlation between students who attend school regularly and higher academic achievement levels.
In order to reach our Destination 2020 goal on attendance, students can miss no more than 17 days of school per year. This may seem like a lot but it's less than two absences per month.
Excused and unexcused absences
The school board updated policy 443 in June 2013 to define what constitutes an excused absence from school. Conditions include:
- Death or serious illness in the immediate family
- Participation in a school function
- Attendance at a religious service
- Extenuating circumstances approved by the principal
Pre-approved absence request
If parents know in advance their child will be absent, please fill out a Pre-Approved Absence Request for Extenuating Circumstances.
The principal may deny the request if s/he believes it would harm the student’s academic progress. If the absence is denied and the family still takes the child out of school, the absence will be unexcused. If the pre-approved absence request is denied, the parent or guardian may have that decision reviewed by making a request to the elementary or secondary division within two school days.
If a student misses school, parents are encouraged to work with their child's teacher and principal to determine the appropriate make-up work and timeline to complete the work. The district has updated the make-up procedures for class work, assignments and tests. A supplemental page has been issued for the student handbook that explains the new procedures.
Public service announcements
The Communications Department produced three public service announcements to air on local television stations to remind parents of the importance of getting their children to school every day. Watch them anytime on-demand on ASD-TV.
See also our YouTube video.
An automated “robocall” attendance phone message will go out this year to all students with an unexcused absence, including elementary students. Standard practice is for middle and high school calls to go out at the end of the business day. For the upcoming year, elementary households will also receive calls, beginning at 11 a.m.
The recorded attendance notification message is the district’s official parent notification of an unexcused absence. The attendance notification messages are translated into five of the district’s most common languages besides English.
School Business Partners offer incentives
Several businesses are partnering to provide attendance recognition prizes to students in all grade levels with excellent attendance. As details are finalized, they'll be posted here.
High school incentives
Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of South Anchorage and GCI once again present the Drive for Perfect Attendance for high school students. With incentives ranging from a brand new 2014 Jeep Compass donated by Lithia to 25,000 Alaska Airline miles donated by GCI and many other great prizes, students in all grade levels have a chance to be eligible. Download the flier for details. Program rules
Middle school incentives
IBEW and For Fun Alaska are teaming up to provide quarterly classroom inflatable party prizes and the annual prize of an ultimate field day for one school. Download the flier for details. Program rules
These attendance contests are offered by the School Business Partners listed above. ASD is not a sponsor or funder of these contests.
Attendance and achievement
Attendance and achievement are closely tied. Students in the classroom are achieving at higher rates than those who are absent. View the 2012-13 graphic
Current attendance rates show all grades need improvement to get to a 90% attendance rate. View the 2013-14 graphic
Perfect attendance makes a difference. See how attendance affects success and get advice for building good attendance habits.