I overhead my two oldest grandchildren (Emrie 6 and Romie 5) talking about school. Emrie was amazed to hear Romie say he would be going to kindergarten in four weeks. “Oh Womie,” she said, “you are going to love it”. After all, she just graduated kindergarten and without question, it was a joyful experience. Roman was glad to hear he would love it. He trusts Emrie’s insight and he is deeply impressed that she can read. (Upon watching her read Splat the Cat, he suggested Emrie be a guest reader at his day care, after the mayor and superintendent.)
One-fourth of America’s population who goes to school each day as preK-12 to post-graduate students, teachers, custodians, aides, cooks, administrators, or other support staff. Education plays a huge role in building communities today and in the future. At BPS, we are mission driven: all students, every single one, will be successful at college (any post-secondary education or training), career, and community life. Schools cannot deliver on this mission alone.
As the first day of school nears, parents and students plan for the year ahead: getting school supplies, registering for busing, replacing Z pass if needed, depositing money to provide food for children, and more. All of those tasks are important, yet I would offer the reminder that the single biggest gift parents can give their children is to get them to school consistently. Attendance matters more than new clothes, color crayons, more than the backpack and shoes, more than any other school gift. Students who attend school consistently feel better about themselves, build academic and age appropriate social skills, and are far more likely to graduate than those who have frequent absences. Those who miss as little as one day every two weeks are more likely to fall behind and stay behind, forever. There is a strong link between learning to attend school in elementary and graduating high school. Give your children the gift of an independent future by getting them to school consistently.
Life is stressful and busy. As a mom and grandmother, I know this is true. Yet purposeful planning makes the difference between a great idea (school attendance matters) and great action (my children are at school). Here are proven tips that help parents and students get to school: define a bed time and morning routine and stick to it for 21 days. On day 22, that routine has become habit and the struggle is over. Set out backpacks and clothes the night before. Follow a regular bedtime and wake time. Recognize the difference between sickness such as the flu and sickness caused by anxiety. Your child’s teacher and school counselor will help address anxiety issues. Even with the best plan, “life interrupts”. For days like that, have a back-up plan where a trusted family member, neighbor, friend, or another parent can assist. Plan medical appointments and extended family trips around the school calendar. Students who go to school are more likely to succeed academically, emotionally, financially, and internationally. In a world where much is uncertain, this is for certain: getting your children to school daily is offers to them a more secure future and that is one of best gifts you can give for it will impact your child forever.