Research is clear, and our own data confirms that students with satisfactory attendance have a better chance to succeed in school, while chronically absent students are at high risk of failure and of dropping out altogether.
Strive for Less than 5 engages students and their parents to commit to the first step in school success - regular attendance. For students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, attendance really matters.
Strive for less than 5 is a campaign that began in 2014 to combat chronic absenteeism in our district. A student who is absent 10% or more of the school year is said to be chronically absent; at Grand Rapids Public Schools, that means missing 18 or more days in a school year. Just two days a month of excused or unexcused absence quickly adds to 18 days for the year.
The campaign informs and motivates parents and their children to miss fewer than 5 days. Since the challenge began, chronic absenteeism at GRPS has been reduced by 60%. By raising awareness of the importance of attendance, the challenge motivates students, parents, schools, and the larger community to work together to keep kids in school.
Every day of missed school – whether excused or unexcused – is a missed opportunity for learning.
In school, children practice the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century: academic skills, technical skills, and the social and emotional skills needed to be happy and confident and to contribute as responsible citizens in the world.
What can I do?
As a parent, participate in your school’s efforts to improve attendance. Talk to your child’s principal or to a parent leader at school to learn how.
Here are resources to help you understand the impact of attendance on your child’s academic and social development.
Take a class alongside other parents. Parent University is a community collaborative to help parents become full partners in their child’s education, offering modules, activities, workshops, classes, conferences, mentoring and coaching to equip parents for success.
Become active in the effort to improve
attendance at your child's school.
Talk to your child's principal about becoming a Parent Action Leader (PAL).
Our efforts to reduce chronic absenteeism and partner with our parents at GRPS have been featured in local and national publications and news media.
- ESSA Highlights Absenteeism as a Key Challenge for Schools (Jan. 2017)
- 5 Reasons Schools Should Measure Chronic Absence(Nov. 2016)
- Missing School Matters(Nov. 2016)
- Grand Rapids:Progress with Challenge 5 (Updated Nov. 2016)
- Preventing Missed Opportunity: Taking Collective Action to Confront Chronic Absence (Sept 2016)
- How US Schools are Combating Chronic Absenteeism (Sept 2016)
- The Long-Term Consequences of Missing School (Sept 2016)
- What One District’s Data Mining Did for Chronic Absence (May 2016)
- Parent University in Grand Rapids is Changing Lives & Improving Student Outcomes (Aug. 2015)
- Grand Rapids Gets Behind Getting Students to School (May 2015)
- Parent University Building Stronger Families (Mar. 2015)
- Parent Engagement Builds Trust and Academic Success (Jan. 2015)
- Parent University Boosts Student Outcomes by Empowering Parents (Nov. 2014)