According to Charles Bruner, Anne Discher and Hedy Chang in their Chronic Elementary Absenteeism:A Problem hidden in Plain Sight, a key ingredient for ensuring success in school is helping children — at the beginning of their academic careers — get into the habit of attending school every day. While going to school regularly will not by itself ensure that children learn, missing extended periods of school, especially when children are acquiring the basic academic skills that lead to becoming proficient readers, certainly puts a child at risk.
"Children who miss a significant number of days in kindergarten often continue to miss a significant number of days in first grade. By third grade, fewer than 1 in 5 of those significantly absent in kindergarten and first grade are at grade level in reading. By fourth grade, when reading is required to learn just about everything, many never catch up. They may disengage from learning; have behavior problems and later drop out. The importance of attendance doesn't end with the elementary grades. By ninth grade, attendance is a better predictor of high school graduation than eighth-grade test scores, according to Attendance Works, a national organization that promotes attendance." Read more...
The National Center for Children in Poverty recommends improving attendance through strong school and community partnerships. Here in Springfield, we are doing just that, through a strong community collaboration with the Public School's Parent and Community Engagement Center (PACE). We are combining strategies that initiate healthy attendance habits through walking programs. Brightwood, Boland and Brookings Schools have demonstrated increased attendance patterns with their students that participate in community walking programs.
100 Mile Club at the Elias Brookings School in Springfield, MA
Following a devastating tornado that destroyed their school building, the Elias Brookings community came together through a program called the 100 Mile Club. Physical Education Teacher, Joe Trivisonno, and School Nurse, Pam Maynard, started the Brookings 100 Mile Club and have marveled at the program's positive effects on students, staff, and parents.
American Graduate: Brookings School's 100 Mile Club | Connecting Point
The Brookings School in Springfield has a student population that is 98% below the poverty line. The school was hit by a tornado in 2011 and all the students were displaced into modular buildings. Today, the school's been rebuilt and the 100 Mile Club was started to increase school attendance, and increase physical fitness. Kids at the school now begin their day on "the right foot".....literally, tying up their sneakers and getting ready to take part in The 100 Mile Club. Connecting Point Contributor Carolee McGrath visited the school and shares their story as part of the American Graduate report.