Attendance Matters

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Attendance Matters® was launched in 2013 with a goal to reduce the number of per student middle school absences by two. Data is being tracked in 15 middle schools. This program, in partnership with support from local schools, organizations, and businesses has already shown positive progress.

The Case:

1. Regular attendance affects a student’s success in school and in life.

2. When students do well in school and graduate, they are more likely to be gainfully employed,  pursue healthier lifestyles, live in a safe environment, and contribute to the well-being of a community.  

The Challenge:

1. Chronic absenteeism is a key factor in poor academic achievement, high school dropout rates, adult  unemployment, and crime rates. 

2. Analyzed data from our local schools showed students who missed fewer than 5 days of general math or  science class were more likely to earn an “A”, while students who missed 7 or more days of the same  class were more likely to earn a “D” or “F.”

3. Students’ grades decline overall as absences increase.  Students with 5 or fewer absences earned more   “A’s.”  Students with 12 or more absences typically receive failing grades.  

United Way’s Commitment:

1. Consistent with Community Solutions' philosophy of engaging the community to address issues, United Way is committed to mobilizing additional resources to improve school attendance (kindergarten  through high school) in Benton and Franklin Counties.

2. United Way is partnering with 15 area middle schools (over 11,500 students) throughout Benton and Franklin Counties to provide support in conveying the Attendance Matters® message to their students.  Attendance data is being tracked to measure the overall attendance rate across all participating schools. 

3. The Attendance Matters® Planning Committee has brought together over 50 health and human service organizations and businesses, and many community members to create positive activities, community messaging, and rewards to support schools as they strive to achieve the goals of Attendance Matters®.

Attendance Matters® Goals:

1. Attendance Matters® focuses on improving the school attendance of all local students, K-12.  With the goal of reducing per student absences by two days within 15 area middle schools, learning will be increased by over 140,000 hours of instruction in a school year.

2. A broad-scale media effort began in March of 2013 with compelling messages to engage students, their parents, and the overall community.  The messaging is continually being updated to insure its relevance, impact, and motivation for student participation in school.

3. Partnerships with local schools, businesses, local media, the faith community, and social service organizations are supporting and promoting these messages through incentive programs, message displays, and student recognition.

4. The importance of parents attending student/teacher conferences is being promoted in local businesses, workplaces, and other organizations throughout the community.  

The Impact (examples of how lives were improved last year):

The measure of United Way is not in the fundraising campaign, but in the ways lives are improved and positively impacted.

1. After the first year of implementing Attendance Matters®, student absences decreased by an average of 2 days per student--from 12 days to 10 days per year, per student.

2. Students missing 10+ days dropped by 985.

3. 33,000 attendance reward items were provided during this past school year to local middle school students who demonstrated improved school attendance.

4. Several middle schools reported that their leadership students called students who were absent to let   them know that they were missed at school which resulted in better attendance.  

How You Can Help – Give, Advocate, Volunteer:

1. Sponsor or help purchase Attendance Matters® incentives/awards for schools to use as student rewards.

2. Display Attendance Matters® posters/information at offices or public access areas of your business or organization, and share other information as appropriate.

3. Invite United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties to provide a presentation to your group/organization about the Attendance Matters® program.

4. Encourage and support parents to attend school conferences.

Interested in implementing Attendance Matters® in your community, organization, or school?

Attendance Matters® is a registered name and service mark by United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In support of our mission to improve lives in our community and support others to do so in theirs, permission for use will be considered by completing our online Request For Use form. Requesting organizations must meet the following requirements and agree to the following guidelines:

1. Your use of the Attendance Matters® service mark is for the sole purpose of informing and educating about school related attendance.

2. Your organization is a school, not-for-profit, or government entity.

3. From the date of the agreement forward, all of your materials displaying the Attendance Matters® name will include the following disclaimer: "Attendance Matters® is used with permission by United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties."

4. Permission is for the sole use by your organization and is non-transferable.

5. Request for permission is granted per calendar year and a new request must be completed each new year.

Click here to submit a request for permission.

If you are a for profit company and are interested in using Attendance Matters®, please contact Michele Roth at or (509) 783-4102.