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Attendance Matters

Attendance Matters Day December 13
Posted on 12/10/2018

This week, Springfield Public Schools faculty, staff and administrators will blanket the City with a very simple but important message – Attendance Matters. On Thursday, Dec. 13th, every SPS employee will don an Attendance Matters t-shirt and the school with the highest student and staff attendance percentage on that day will win a prize valued at $500. The initiative is a partnership between Springfield Public Schools and The United Way of Pioneer Valley.

“United Way has been a stalwart partner of Springfield Public Schools for several years now, helping to spread the message about how important attendance is, but this is the first time we’ve done anything like this – something that involves every single SPS teacher, custodian, nurse – everyone is included,” said Assistant Superintendent Lydia Martinez, adding that national studies show good attendance supports high academic achievement. “It’s really quite simple, we can’t educate students who aren’t in school. We want our students to have every advantage possible. That starts by showing up to school every day.”

The district’s overall attendance rate is currently 92.7 percent, up from 91.8 in 2011, but Martinez said there’s still room for improvement, especially amongst those students who demonstrate chronic absenteeism.

The show of district solidarity around this issue on December 13th is largely symbolic, with more concrete measures already built into the district’s policies and procedures. Those include, but are not limited to, a full-time SPS Attendance Office, phone calls and even home visits when students are absent and a partnership with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, where officers patrol the streets during school hours on the lookout for school-aged children, among other duties.

Martinez added that several city businesses and organizations have signed on to the December 13th Attendance Matters Day, volunteering to post signs carrying the message. “Because we know that good attendance is important at school, but also for work and for so many things in life as children grow into adults,” said Martinez. 

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