Attendance Works

The evidence is very clear–when students are in school on a regular basis, they perform much better academically. Chronic absenteeism, or missing 15-18 days of school a year (for any reason) plays a significant role in meeting educational outcomes. We typically think of chronic absences at the secondary level, but in the state of Iowa, 9% of Kindergarten students miss nearly a month of school (Source: Child and Family Policy Center). The early grades build foundational skills in all areas, particularly reading and math. A student who misses a significant amount of school is less likely to be proficient in these foundational skills. A recent study in Iowa showed that 3rd grade students who were chronically absent in 2 or more years were half as likely to be proficient in reading than those with regular attendance (Source: Child and Family Policy Center).

In the state of Iowa, 5.6% of K-3 students are chronically absent. This number increases to 6.2% when we look at grades K-8 and 8.3% at grades K-12. At Southeast Polk, we appreciate all of the family efforts that put us below this state average.  Our chronic absences at K-3 are 4.4%, 4.6% for grades K-8, and 6.3% for grades K-12.

Percentage of Students Chronically Absent

K-3 K-8 K-12
State of Iowa 5.6% 6.2% 8.3%
Southeast Polk 4.4% 4.6% 6.3%

Source: Iowa Department of Education

We thank all parents and caregivers who are making sure their children come to school each day. There are some tips that can help us reduce the number of students chronically absent even more.

What You Can Do

  • Make school attendance a priority
  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day and make that the expectation.
  • Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless truly sick.
  • Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers if necessary.
  • Know the school’s attendance policy
  • Check on your child’s attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.
  • Ask for help from school officials or community agencies if you’re having trouble getting your child to school.

Source: Attendance Works (

Again, we appreciate your efforts to make sure school attendance is a priority. We want our students to be in school often enough to take advantage of and benefit from the tremendous learning opportunities that are provided at Southeast Polk. We want all of our students to know–”We’re Glad You’re Here!”