Principal Page

January 2017
Principal's Message by Kevin Dorken
“It’s not the same when you’re not here.”  This sentiment expresses our feelings when our students miss school.  With our return from Winter Break, and what was hopefully an opportunity for some quality time together as a family, I wanted to start 2017 by sharing some thoughts about the importance of school attendance and prompt arrival each day.
Not only do the children’s classmates and teachers miss them when they are significantly late or absent from school, but there can be real gaps that develop in their learning.  “A growing consensus of researchers points to chronic absence as one of the strongest but most overlooked indicators that a student will become disengaged and fall behind academically…” (Sparks, 2010).  So what is “chronic” absenteeism?  The easiest definition would be missing 10% or more of school.  Now this issue may not seem as critical for our youngest students.  However, a recent California study found that among students who were chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade, 17% were proficient readers at the end of 3rd grade (Bruner, Discher & Chang, 2011).  In addition to the academic impact, children can miss important and consistent opportunities for the early development of social and friendship skills, resilience and dependability.
Of course, a student’s health is an important consideration.  We would want you to keep your child home from school if s/he has a fever of 100 degrees or higher, has diarrhea or is vomiting, or is directed by a physician to do so.  In most cases other than those, we would expect students to attend school (you can always call our health office with specific questions about conditions).
So, perfect attendance would be great J.  A realistic goal is to have your children miss no more than (on average) one day per month.  Regular attendance and prompt arrival at school (no later than 8:50am – even when it’s cold, but dressed for the weather!) truly set children up for success.  It really isn’t the same when they’re not here, and we appreciate your support and partnership in working toward our students having the most positive school experience.