Boquet: Those who miss school fall way behind

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sick days, doctor appointments, vacations and days when it’s just hard to get everybody to school and work on time are all reasons students might miss school.

And while a few days of missed school might not seem like a big deal spread out across the 10 months that school is in session, missing just a few days can seriously impact a child’s learning.

Students in St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools who regularly attend school have state test scores that are 36 percent higher than students who miss 10 or more days. For every day a student misses school, that student’s state assessment index declines an average of 1.5 points.

In fact, average test scores for students who have a high number of absences plummet more than 40 points below those of students who regularly attended class.

Sadly, students who miss at least 10 days of school are more than twice as likely to fail a grade.

The effects are even more serious for our youngest learners who are building their foundation of skills.

Just one year of chronic absence in grades K-2 creates lasting gaps as students progress to higher grades. On average, students who miss at least 10 days of school in kindergarten, first or second grades have standardized test scores in third grade that are 32 percent lower than those who regularly attended school in K-2.

Surprisingly, it takes just one year for students in any grade to fall behind.

Students who are consistently absent for just one year have state test scores that are 10 points below those who came to school.

The state of Louisiana requires students to be in class 167 days a year in grades kindergarten through 8th and 83.5 days per semester in high school. However, as you can see just one day can have a lasting impact.

We’re asking parents to give their children the best chance of success this school year by making getting to school a priority in your home. Please talk to your child about why going to school is important.

This is especially needed with those high schoolers who are becoming more independent. Ninth graders have the highest absentee rates in our district.

Don’t hesitate at any grade level to check with your child’s school about their attendance and discuss with teachers and principals any questions or problems you may be having with attendance.

During the 2015-16 school year, 13 percent of students in our school system were chronically absent and in danger of falling behind their peers. That’s nearly 800 children right here in St. John the Baptist Parish who weren’t given the best chance at success.

Help us give your child a good start. To succeed in school you have to be in school!

Jennifer Boquet is the communications specialist for St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools. Email her at