Indian Head Elementary School students and staff got a wild hair last week when the school — along with Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School and the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center — participated in Attendance Awareness Month with a Spirit Week that called on students and staff to sport crazy hair one day, sunglasses the next, then pajamas or sports jerseys.
Sheryl Morrison, pupil personnel worker for Indian Head, Mt. Hope and Gwynn, organized the week to bring attention to the importance of regularly attending school.
“We try to find creative and fun activities for the students to bring attention to the importance of attendance,” Morrison said. “We are kicking off the school year with a spirit week to raise awareness of the importance of good attendance.”
Data gathered by the U.S. Department of Education found more than 7 million students missed 15 or more days of schools during the 2015-16 school year. That translates to 16 percent of the country’s K-12 student population — or 1 in 6 students. The highest rates of chronic absenteeism occur among high school students where statistics show 1 in 5 students across the country miss school regularly.
“Regular school attendance is necessary to ensure that our students are actively participating in activities that promote and encourage academic success,” Charmaine Young-Waddy, student engagement and conduct officer for Charles County Public Schools, said. “When students miss valuable instructional time due to excessive absences, it decreases their involvement in engaging in classroom conversations, participation in academic activities and the school’s inability to consistently offer interventions needed to help improve their understanding of the content.”
Research conducted by the education department shows students who often miss school are at risk of a failure to hit educational milestones — especially in elementary school. If a child is chronically absent from school, they are more likely to drop out before graduation which can pave the way for behaviors that will follow them into their adult life.
“Community and school resources are available for our students and their families,” Young-Waddy said. “Working with the school in order determine how we can assist allows us to start in the right direction.”
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,108 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.