Attendance Matters: Superintendent Juneau Asks Montana Students To Show Up

Students who miss just 18 days of school in a year are more likely to fall behind, struggle with grades and even dropout. That’s why Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau is asking Montana students to start the school year strong by committing to attend class each day.

“The simple act of showing up gives students a better chance at succeeding,” Superintendent Juneau said. “A student who goes to school each day is more likely to do better in reading and math. That student is more likely to graduate from high school, and is more likely to have a successful career.”

September is Attendance Awareness month, an annual event developed by Attendance Works which aims to promote the importance of advancing student success by reducing chronic absenteeism, United Way, America’s Promise Alliance and others.

Attendance Works research shows that students who miss 10 percent of the school year, that’s just 18 days, are considered chronically absent and have a higher chance of falling behind. When a school’s average daily attendance rate falls below 95 percent, research has found that chronic absenteeism is likely a growing concern for a significant share of its students.

In 2014, the average daily attendance for all Montana schools was 93.6 percent.

“Attendance, achievement and graduation are all connected,” Juneau said. “This year, I encourage Montana students to continue raising the bar and to show up each day engaged and ready to learn.”

Attendance Awareness month officially begins Sept. 1. Schools across the state will be participating in Attendance Awareness month events, including in communities like Great Falls, Billings, Lockwood, Willow Creek and Wolf Point.

Quick Facts:

  • Average daily attendance is highest in elementary school and begins to decline by 7th grade
  • Montana’s average daily attendance in 2014 was lowest in 12th grade, highest in 4th
  • A school with average daily attendance below 93 percent could mean a large share of students are chronically absent
  • Low income students are four-times more likely to be chronically absent than their high-income peers
  • By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school