Good attendance is important for children to do well in school and eventually in the workplace. Absences – excused and unexcused – add up, resulting in too much time lost in the classroom. In fact, missing just 10% of the school year, just 18 days or two to three days per month, in the early grades can leave many students struggling throughout elementary school. By 6th grade, missing that much school is strongly linked to course failure and even eventual dropout. Every school day counts and everyone can make a difference: educators, after school programs, businesses, parents and mentors.
We know quality mentoring is proven to increase attendance. For example, studies of formal mentoring programs have shown:
Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school.
Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 37% less likely than their peers to skip a class.
As education expert and researcher Robert Balfanz notes in many of his published works, a “second shift of adults” is critical in keeping students on track. This second shift often includes a mentor, and a quality mentoring relationship can:
- Help improve a young person’s self-esteem.
- Support students in trying new behaviors.
- Teach young people how to relate well to all kinds of people, including teachers and school administrators, and help them strengthen communication skills.
All of these positive behavior shifts can help increase interest and engagement in school.
This article was adapted from Mentoring.org Attendance Awareness Month