HERE! for Their Future
West Des Moines Community Schools’ (WDMCS) role in preparing our students for postsecondary learning, careers, and life is best fulfilled when we are all HERE. Together, we play an important role in supporting student success. That's why we've launched HERE!, a multi-faceted outreach campaign to combat chronic absenteeism in WDMCS.
What is Chronic Absenteeism?
A student is considered chronically absent if they miss 10 percent of school, which is 18 or more days in a year. This equals only two days a month.
Why Do We Need to Talk About It?
Research shows consistent attendance:
- helps children reach early academic and developmental milestones;
- helps students develop positive relationships with peers and staff;
- prevents students from falling behind academically;
- connects families to additional community resources; and
- increases graduation rates.
HERE! Family Resources
My Family's Helpers Worksheet
The My Family's Helpers worksheet was originally posted by Attendance Works and adapted with permission from the DeVos Family Foundation from materials created by Early Works. Click on the worksheet in your language to download a printable worksheet.
What Are We Doing?
WDMCS is addressing chronic absenteeism in a variety of ways.
The purpose of our HERE! campaign is to:
- educate families and students on the topic of chronic absenteeism and its impact on student success.
- engage students, staff, and families by connecting everyone to their "why" for choosing WDMCS and coming to school each day.
- connect to the broader community to develop resources and break down barriers that may prevent some students from making it to school each day.
- Student absenteeism by school and grade;
- Other demographics that may stand out (example: open enrolled students, English learner families, etc.);
- Reasons marked for a student's absences: Excused? Unexcused? Illness? Travel? Transportation issues? Other reasons?
Enhancing Ways to Reach Families
- Adjusting automated messages to families.
- Providing ways for teachers to reach out directly to families to learn more about why a student is absent.
- Determining resources families may need to help them with their students' attendance.
- Adding TalkingPoints, a two-way texting tool to break down barriers in reaching families quickly regarding a student's absence. This tool also translates messages from other languages.