When students
miss too many days of school, they fall behind and struggle to keep up with
their classmates. Whether their absences are due to illness or another reason,
the end result for the student is the same – learning time is lost. Keeping an
open line of communication with school staff, teachers and nurses about your
child’s health will ensure that everyone is better prepared to assist you and
your family.  September is Attendance Awareness

Month, in our efforts to spotlight the importance of being present
everyday we asked Lisa Brenner, Director of Graduation and Alternative Services
a few questions.


1. What is your
role? What are your responsibilities within that role?

I am the Director of Graduation and
Alternative Services for IPS.  My responsibilities include developing,
implementing, and monitoring effective dropout prevention and graduation
support services.  I also supervise the district’s K-12 Graduation Coaches
who work with students, families, and schools to promote the maximum
development of all students and to ensure that our students graduate on time
with a post-secondary plan that will allow them to earn a living wage.


2. What is
not commonly understood about student attendance? What is a common

Most people don’t realize
how quickly absences add up.  For example, missing just two days a month
adds up to 18 absences in a year, which is considered chronically absent. 
A student who misses 18 days a year will have missed an entire school year by
the time they start their senior year.  Additionally, there is a
misconception that absences in Pre-K and Kindergarten don’t make that much of a
difference. However, research shows that good attendance early on leads the
development of positive attendance habits which result in increased academic


3. What’s important for our families to
understand about student attendance?

     Good attendance habits increase
students’ academic, social, emotional, and vocational success. Research shows
that chronic
     absenteeism, whether excused or unexcused, may negatively impact a
student in each of these areas. Chronic absenteeism is
     also a key indicator
that a student may dropout of high school.

The most important thing
for people to understand is that attendance matters and is directly linked to
achievement and opportunities both while in school and beyond.