Research reveals that missing 10 percent of the school year, about 18 days in most school districts, negatively affects a student’s academic performance. Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the academic year. Half the students who miss 2-4 days in the first month of the school year go on to miss nearly a month of school. To help decrease dropout rates and improve student success, schools and districts around the country focus on increasing attendance beginning with the first day of school.
Low-income students are 4 times more likely to be chronically absent than others. There are many reasons that lead to students missing the first day and many other days throughout the school year. These reasons usually include factors that are beyond a child’s control. Some factors may include unstable housing, unreliable transportation, lack of health care or insurance, and lack of needed resource (school, supplies, clothes, etc.) To fill in some of the gaps, many school districts, government agencies, business and community organizations team up to host back to school events. These events promote attendance and help equip families with the resources needed for students to show up to school on the first day and every day ready to learn.
Let’s take a look at some of the largest back to school events around the country.
Tampa Bay Back To School Fair: The purpose of this event is to prepare, protect, educate and inspire families for the upcoming school year. The Tampa Bay Back to School Fair gives families the opportunity to receive free school supplies and meet with local businesses to learn about different resources for health & wellness, safety and tutors and more. The event takes place August 8, 2015.
4th Annual Knox County Mayor’s Back to School Bash: With more than 4,000 attendees last year, the annual event is an opportunity for students to get free school supplies and health screenings, and to enjoy activities, free food, special programs, vendors and more. The event will take place Monday, August 10, 2015 at the Knoxville Expo Center, 5441 Clinton Highway. The event is free and open to the public.
Austin ISD 10th Annual Back to School Bash Celebration and Safety Fair: More than 130 community and district organizations will offer exhibits for district families to learn more about the services and programs that can help students enjoy a safe and successful school year. Austin ISD provides transportation to families with a free shuttle service to and from the event. Students are also given free school supplies among many other resources needs throughout the school year. This year’s event is August 15, 2015 at Palmer’s Events Center.
2015 Montgomery County Public Schools Back to School Fair in Rockville, Maryland: An excellent opportunity for district families communities to come together and celebrate the start of a new school year. Families will be able to meet and obtain information and resources from the school system, community, and government representatives. Students will have the opportunity to receive free school supplies and free health screenings. Montgomery County Public Schools will provide transportation with a free shuttle service. The event will take place on August 29, 2015.
Atlanta Public Schools 2015 Back to School Bash: Families attending this event will have the opportunity to register onsite, receive free book bags and school supplies as well as many other resources to help students and their families prepare for a successful school year. Transportation will be provided. The event will take place on July 25, 2015.
What is your school, district or community doing to promote attendance? Feel free to share!