Chronic Absenteeism and Attendance Information

Dear Parent/Guardian:

This year, Brewer School Department is making a special effort to ensure that all students fully benefit from their education by attending school regularly.  Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves. Your student can start building this habit in preschool so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Consistent attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Starting in kindergarten, too many absences (excused and unexcused) can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) increases the chance that your student will not read or master math at the same level as their peers.
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
  • By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  • By being present at school, your child learns valuable social skills and has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with other students and school staff.
  • Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
  • By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.

WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU

We miss your student when they are gone and we value their contributions to our school. We would like you to help ensure that your student attends regularly and is successful in school. 

Brewer High School Procedure for Student Absences: When a student is absent, his/her parent or guardian should call the school at 989-4140 before 9 AM to report the absence. In addition, the student must also bring a signed note no later than the second day of their return to school; late notes will not be accepted.  Unless the school is notified by note, the absence will be treated as an unexcused absence.

Brewer Community School Procedure for Student Absences: When a student is absent, his/her parent or guardian should call the school at 404-5702 before their child’s official start to the school day (7:50 for students in grades 5-8 and 8:30 for students in grades PK-4) to report the absence. If the school is not notified, the absence will be considered unexcused.  A written note may also be sent in to the office when the student returns to school to excuse the absence no later than 2 days after the date of the absence.

OUR PROMISE TO YOU

We know that there are a wide variety of reasons that students are absent from school, from health concerns to transportation challenges. There are many people in our building prepared to help you if you or your student face challenges in getting to school regularly or on time.  Our guidance counselors, school nurse, and administrative team are here to listen and help with issues that may impact the challenges you face in getting to school regularly.  We promise to track attendance daily, to notice when your student is missing from class, communicate with you to understand why they were absent, and to identify barriers and supports available to overcome challenges you may face in helping your student attend school.

SCHOOL POLICIES AND STATE LAWS

It is important that you understand our school policies and procedures, as well as Maine State Law, to ensure your child is successful in school. State law for compulsory attendance requires children from age 7 to 17 to attend a public school, private school, or a district-approved home school program. Youth who are 15 or older may be excused from attending public school if they meet certain requirements. 

There have been some changes that have been implemented in Maine State law regarding chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism occurs when your child misses 10% of the days they are enrolled in school for any reason including excused, unexcused and disciplinary absences.  In Brewer, for a student attending the entire school year, chronic absenteeism would be 17 days or an average of approximately two days a month! Students are also considered absent if they are not present for more than 50% of the day.

Please know your child(ren) will be identified as chronically absent at the state level, as the Brewer School Department is required to report all chronically absent students to the Maine Department of Education. If a child is also considered truant, then reports must be sent to the Department of Health and Human Services as well as to law enforcement. Parents are responsible for making sure their children attend school regularly.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Set a regular bed time and morning routine.
  • Prepare for school the night before, finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required immunizations.
  • Don’t let your student stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • Avoid appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
  • Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
  • Keep track of your student’s attendance. Missing more than 9 days could put your student at risk of falling behind. 
  • Talk to your student about the importance of attendance.
  • Talk to your students’ teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.
  • Encourage meaningful after-school activities, including sports and clubs.

Sincerely,

Cheri Towle, Ed. D.

Superintendent of Schools