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Every Day Matters (a lot)

Dear PTS Families,

Mirroring an unfortunate trend nationwide, the Phoenix-Talent School District has seen an uptick in chronic absenteeism within our schools. We are determined to tackle this challenge, but we need your help.

Over a recent 30-day window, 63.9% of our students attended school enough to be considered regular attenders – that is, students who have attended more than 90% of their enrolled days. Digging deeper into the numbers, Phoenix High School had the highest rate of regular attenders (71%) and our elementary schools the lowest (59.5%). 

This chronic absenteeism, defined as missing 10% or more of school days (including excused, unexcused and discipline-related absences), negatively impacts students’ ability to reach their full potential. Alarmingly, it also exacerbates dropout rates and achievement gaps, and a 2012 study of Oregon schools found that absences starting in kindergarten predicted poor attendance and lower achievement in the years ahead.

A concerted effort to increase regular attendance has already begun in each of our schools, as teachers and administrators have implemented strategies aimed at conquering the problem classroom by classroom. You, PTS Rising, will be our collaborators, and we know you will be up to the task. 

What can you do? If your family or your child needs support, please reach out to your school or our Community Care team and let us know what we can do to help. As long as your child is healthy, please encourage showing up to class when school is in session. Every day of school is an important opportunity for students to learn as well as connect with their peers and teachers. If you are unsure if your child is healthy enough to attend school, please reach out to your school’s office staff for direction before deciding to keep them home. 

Here are a few other tips:

  • If your child must stay home due to illness or quarantine, ask the teacher for resources and ideas to continue learning at home.

  • Try to schedule medical appointments and extended trips when school isn't in session.

  • Develop backup plans for getting to school. If something comes up, call on a family member, a neighbor or another parent.

By placing a renewed emphasis on attendance we are hopeful that we can meet an initial goal of raising the regular attenders rate at all PTS schools by 5% before the start of spring break on March 23. Looking further ahead, we are aiming to have a regular attenders rate of 75% by the end of the school year. 

Reaching those numbers in such a short amount of time will be a real challenge but if we all work together to prioritize attendance it’s also very doable. So let’s do that, PTS Rising, because by taking the approach that “Every Day Matters” we’ll be helping our students get the most out of school and maximize their potential.