We encourage everyone in the University Academy community to join with us in our resolution to maximize school attendance. The UA Board of Directors adopted an extended school day, realizing more time for instruction is necessary. UA can provide a strong curriculum, hire excellent teachers, and implement the most effective educational practices, but students need to attend school regularly to take full advantage of these opportunities.

The good news is that being in school leads to succeeding in school. This may seem obvious, but some people believe that missing some school days won’t matter that much. Research evidence argues the opposite. Studies across the nation have shown that missing school in any way – by being tardy or absent, impacts learning and results in lower academic performance on state measures, on performance in the next grade, and leads to patterns that ultimately effect future pathways and expectations.

The biggest impact is seen with students who miss between five and 10 days of school, suggesting that missing even a week to two weeks can have a significant negative impact on achievement (Barge, 2011). Even missing a few days counts: test scores are a percentage point lower for each day missed. Math sees even more negative effect than reading/language arts. Research also revealed a significant negative correlation between the number of tardies and English and math test scores.

Families whose students always come to school on time may think this is someone else’s problem. However, arriving in the classroom late (tardiness is arrival after 7:30 am) or leaving the classroom early (checking-out before 2:45pm) impacts learning for the entire class as the teacher’s instruction is interrupted. It continues to impact the class as the student re-enters and needs to be “caught up”, taking away more instructional focus.

Simply put, students need to attend school regularly for all to succeed. Florida is one of the few states tracking attendance and the data is considered as the state makes decisions about achievement and funding. Absenteeism is considered one of the early warning systems. Everyone at the school feels the effect as lower student scores result in a lower school grade, followed by lower funding for the school, the teachers, and the students.

What is regular attendance? Missing no more than 5 days per year.

What is an absence? Either missing school with an approved excuse or skipping school – all absences impact progress.

What is a tardy? Arriving after 7:30 AM.

What is an early dismissal? Leaving school with or without an approved excuse before 2:45 PM.

What is the impact of a tardy? Beginning instruction and settling into routine that starts the day’s foundation is a critical part of the academic block. A student who is 20 minutes late for class misses 10% of the Language Arts block. A student who has a pattern of arrival with more than 20 days tardy misses almost 7 hours of instruction.

What is the impact of an early dismissal? A student may miss STEAM, language development with Spanish, or physical movement. These address the family’s agreement to support and fully participate in University Academy’s designed structure.

Each family signs the Parent Partnership agreement “to ensure that my child will arrive on time to attend school and participate in all appropriate activities as a full member of the Academy’s community. I understand that excessive absences, late arrivals, or early departures have a negative impact on learning and are grounds for dismissal.”

The University Academy Policies and Procedures Manual, available on the website, outlines attendance policies. Safety and success requires a school community that works together for the benefit of all. Bay District School Choice permits students to attend schools outside their school zone, but the invitation to that school can be withdrawn for violations of student behavior or attendance. These violations break the Parent Partnership Agreement.

Join us with the resolution to have your child’s educational experience be engaging, safe, and successful! We love your children and we want to teach them, so please bring them to school!