St. Francis of Assisi School is dedicated to helping your son or daughter develop the spiritual, intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, social and physical capabilities to live fully and to meet the future challenges of adult roles and responsibilities. The school can best contribute to your child’s education and development when you form a partnership with them.
As parents/guardians you have many responsibilities towards your child. One responsibility is to ensure that your child is in school every day, ready to learn. In fact, it is the law. The Provincial Education Act states that every child between the ages of 6 and 18 years is required to attend school every day from the first school day in September until the last school day in June.
Although some kindergarten students may not have reached the age of 6 yet, the expectation of our school is that these students are also attending school regularly. As kindergarten is not mandatory in Ontario, parents/guardians make the decision to enroll your child in the kindergarten program. Therefore, parents/guardians must also ensure that your child is meeting the attendance expectations of the school.
Success at school helps children engage in learning, while helping the child to build the routine of school attendance into their life. Children who miss school and fall behind tend to miss more school. These children risk becoming frustrated and are at risk for “giving up on school”. In fact, the process of dropping out of school begins very early in the lives of some children. It can start when a child misses school days without sufficient reason and then develops the idea that attendance is optional. At the same time, the student becomes discouraged with his or her poor academic achievement and feels even less like going to class. Set your child up for success by insisting that he or she attends school daily and on time. Moreover, a recent study found that students who missed an average of two days per month in elementary school stood a 60% chance of dropping out in grade nine (Every School Day Counts: Persistent Absenteeism in Ontario, 2016)
How does our school respond to attendance concerns?
We recognized that the attendance profile for each child can be very unique. However, when patterns or routines of non-attendance by a student are identified, we will proceed with the following interventions to support the student and their family:
- Teacher will discuss attendance with parent/guardian and student
- Teacher will refer attendance case to school Principal when 10 days absence has been recorded
- Principal will send a letter home to parent/guardian upon 10 days absent
- Principal will consult with school Social Worker upon 15 days of absent, and will encourage a meeting or phone conversation with parent/guardian
- Upon 20 days absent, Principal will send a second letter home and a habitual absence referral will be made to the school Social Worker
What can parents / guardians do to help?
- Set a regular bed time and morning routine
- Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before
- Don’t let you child stay home unless he or she 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, or other parents for advice and insight on how to make him or her comfortable and excited about learning
- Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call upon a family member, neighbour or another parent
- Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session
Should you need any support with helping your child to attend school, please contact the school office.