September Is National Attendance Awareness Month

Attendance awareness poster. Courtesy photo
 
By BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
LAPS Prevention Specialist

Beginning Sept. 1, everyone in the Los Alamos Public Schools will celebrate National Attendance Awareness Month.

Outstanding attendance will be a focus area throughout the school year. In a small town like Los Alamos, community members play an important role in keeping kids fully engaged in school.

“Good attendance is the most reliable predictor of graduation from high school,” LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said. “When you’re not here, we notice because we care, and we want you to be successful.”

Many believe that missing a day here or there won’t matter. By missing just one day every two weeks, however, you could be on track to miss 10 percent of the school year and that can happen before you know it. 

to the research, students who attend school regularly are more likely to graduate and find good jobs. Over a lifetime, a high school graduate may earn $1 million more than a dropout.

The daily experiences throughout the school years help to create patterns and behaviors that can set students up for a lifetime of success. Arriving on time for class, participation in clubs, sports teams and are all important. Having one or two good friends is also part of the formulas for good attendance and success in school.

As a community, we can work together to make sure that students show up for class, practice, performances and games.

 Showing up, however, is only a portion of achieving student goals and families can help by reminding students of other healthy behaviors that assist with academic success.

“Help your child get organized to do homework,” Steinhaus said. “Create a quiet study area with a desk for homework; add extra lighting, if needed or a shelf for books and place for supplies.”

Parents need to remain engaged in the life of their student as it relates to homework and social aspects, especially during middle school and that interest throughout high school.

Communication is key throughout the school year and conversations should go beyond academics to include future plans, dreams, family and friends. Families can talk about what is happening at school and parents/caregivers need to find out what is important by asking open ended questions about school, friends and subjects.

Communication with school staff is equally important whether remembering to turn in notes from doctors, or leaving a message on the attendance line.

“LAPS staff is working hard to provide useful information and keep in touch with parents,” Steinhaus said. “We have an incredible set of knowledgeable and dedicated teachers.  Our Principals are amazing leaders, our bus drivers are focused on safety , the Central Office staff are focused on for helping with student success and our maintenance and custodial staff provide ever important work to keep schools clean and running well.”

The County of Los Alamos works throughout the year to support LAPS in many ways that might go unrecognized, but ensures the success of the district. One of these areas includes providing support for School Resource Officers (SROs).

The Los Alamos Police Department has assigned a SRO to the middle school, the high school as well as a  juvenile officer. LAPD has also expanded the outreach of the SROs and has begun working in the elementary schools. The SROs work closely with LAPS to provide guidance, training, and to enhance the schools’ safe environment. 

 The County will again show their support of the schools by issuing a proclamation during National Attendance month. The proclamation will be issued at the Sept. 29 County Council meeting to remind the community that awareness of good attendance isn’t something that should be focused on for just September, but is a topic of importance throughout the year.

Concerned community members know that the simple act of showing up to school is not enough. We need every student to engage in the school work and try their very best every day, in every class period and we can model that for them in our daily interactions.

Steinhaus reminds families to encourage students to get plenty of rest, remain true to themselves, get involved and make good decisions. He also encourages students and families to feel to ask for help when they need it.

A variety of resources are through school staff including those in the main office, counselors, school nurses and resource officers. If those key people don’t have the information at their finger tips, they will provide the proper point of.

Direct questions or concerns or attendance resource needs, which are available in English, Spanish, Chinese and more, to 505.663.3252.

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