Just Go to School! is the motto of the (every)day at CPS. Attendance is a HUGE problem that our teachers (and schools and the community at large) deal with on a daily basis. The first person to be affected it the student, who will fall behind more than you can imagine, every absent day. Even worse to contemplate is the fact that by third grade, a child's absenteeism rate and grades can predict with 90% accuracy whether he or she will complete high school.
The other students in the class are then stalled as they sit and wait while the teacher tries to bring the missing students up to speed (as much as possible, which is never completely possible when too many days are lost).
The school and the community suffer because budgets are in part determined by how many children attend school. And when the budget is cut, money for classroom materials is cut, class size increases, when the school fails, property values drop...the list of negative results goes on and on.
All because one (two, three, four, five - it seems to somehow cause a snowball effect) child was absent (most of the time, I can assure you, at least at the high-school level here at CPS, it's because he or she just didn't feel like coming to school).
To boost attendance in Chicago Public Schools, Old Navy recently awarded shopping sprees to 200 lucky students from Wentworth, Oglesby, Westcott and Woods Elementary schools who pledged to go to class more often. Doors opened early on Tuesday, August 31st at the State Street Old Navy location for students to get free back- to-school clothes in exchange for an attendance pledge. Old Navy will also be offering shopping sprees to all the students (in the participating schools) who have reached perfect attendance at the end of the year.
In honor of Old Navy's efforts to help improve school attendance rates, I have a $50 Old Navy Gift that I'd love to give away to a reader - perfect for some late Autumn school duds. I'll choose a winner mid-next week and notify you via the comments section and email. All you have to do is: Subscribe to my blog and then leave a comment below, answering the question: How will you make sure your kids are attending class every day?
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
See more of Amy's stories here.