As we begin another school year in Minneapolis Public Schools, I am pleased to report that we are off to a great start.
We are excited about this year’s priorities, which will help us continue to improve teaching and learning in our schools. One of those priorities is the launch of our new attendance campaign, Attend to Achieve. We know that attendance is critical to student success but far too many of our children are not attending school as regularly as they should. We know that students need to attend school to achieve in school. Study after study proves that being in school leads to succeeding in school. The Attend to Achieve campaign supports our goal for all students to attend school at least 95 percent of the time.
Students who attend school at least 95 percent of the time:
Are one-and-a-half times more likely to be on track to graduate on time;
Perform better in math and reading;
Have fewer suspensions;
Are less likely to fail a class; and
Are more likely to achieve their dreams and enroll in college.
We are calling on the community to help ensure that students attend school — every student, every day. We simply can’t teach students when they are not in school. The impact of consistent student attendance reaches further than just the student; it reflects upon the performance of each school and the school district and correlates with safe and healthy communities, too.
Chronic absenteeism cuts across gender, income, age and cultural boundaries. It is a community issue, and it will take the community to solve it. Everyone can play a role in helping improve student attendance — by connecting with students, encouraging them to attend school and making school an interesting and welcoming place to learn.
We encourage the community to talk to the young people you encounter about the importance of attending school.
Ask students who are out
during a school day why they aren’t attending school.
Get to know young people in your community — students don’t care how much you know until they know that you care.
More information and ideas can be found at attendtoachieve.org.
When our students do well, our communities do well. But to do their best, students want and need relationships with caring adults — they don’t care what we know until they know that we care. We appreciate anything you can do to help us in this effort.
Attendance counts. Every student counts, and every day counts. Thank you for your support!
Bernadeia H. Johnson is superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools.