Research has found that when a student is absent from school even two days per month, this can have a negative impact on the student's academic achievement. Smyth County has implemented a "Strive for 5" district-wide attendance initiative to encourage students to miss 5 or fewer school days each year. The following steps can help to improve attendance:
- Set a regular bedtime and morning routine.
- Choose clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
- Don't let your child stay home unless she/he is truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
- If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make them feel comfortable and excited about learning.
- Develop backup plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
- Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.