Tips for Moms from a School Attendance Clerk

by Connie

Hello, Moms (and Dads), I am the School Attendance Clerk. Certain parents and students consider me a great pain in the neck or, perhaps, another part of the human anatomy.

When I discuss truancies or chronic tardy issues with parents, the conversations can be painful for both sides. In the grand picture of raising children to responsible adulthood, all of us agree that education is one of the cornerstones of future success. Please allow me to share my observations.

The law of my state require children of Kindergarten through high school age to attend school. Therefore, your child is expected to attend school on a regular basis. Accept this fact and embrace it as a worthy goal for your child.

The Student/Parent handbook is often the least read school publication. The attendance section spells out what absences are excused and what is considered a truancy. Review this information at the start of each school year. This is very helpful especially if you have a child with a chronic illness or special needs.

Maintain a family wide attitude that highlights the importance of attendance. If you develop this in the early years, your teenager is less likely to skip classes in middle school and high school. As parents, we hope this attendance attitude will carry forward to college classes than careers. Reliability is part of a solid work ethic.

Hold yourself accountable when your child is chronically late to school. The beginning minutes of each school day can set the tone for the remainder of the day. Children feel stress when they miss out on information which was presented to the rest of the class before they arrived. They learn to dread entering the classroom when classmates are seated and their lessons are already underway. Don't make tardiness an obstacle to learning.

Finally, never let your child hear you lie when you are excusing an absence or a tardy. The sixth grader who listens to his/her parents give phony excuses will grow into the eighth grader who expects the attendance clerk to accept any lame reason for absence. "No, Johnny. I do not believe aliens took you to their spaceship during third period math."

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