Your student’s school wants your help

New Rules for Healthy Schools


Attendance Matters

Getting every student to school, every day matters. Missing just 2 days of school per month, or about 10% of school days in a year, means students don’t learn as well and are at risk for falling behind and even dropping out. But families and schools can work together to prevent absences and any negative effects they can cause. Check out the easy ways YOU can take action below!

Sign Up for PowerSchool

Did you know there’s an easy place to see your high school student’s grades and their attendance at anytime? Checking “PowerSchool” at least once a week ensures you always know how your student is doing, if absences are starting to add up to risky levels, and even set up alerts for missed classes or assignments. Plus, if they are absent, (excused or not) you can easily see missed assignments to help make sure your student gets back up to speed!

Reach Out for Help

If you are the parent or guardian of a student in District 209 who is struggling with attendance, your student’s school is ready to help! There are staff at each school who can support you in finding ways to decrease absences for your student. All you have to do is reach out!

Always Report Absences

Partner with your child and the school, do your part to reduce the negative effects of missed school by always reporting your student’s absences. This allows schools to ensure better communication between staff, teachers, and your student to make sure they have access to any missed lessons and assignments that could impact their grades.


Check out the video below to learn more about school wellness and why it matters.

Learn More

Attendance, Chronic Absenteeism, & Health

Everyone’s students miss a day of school here and there, but have you ever wondered how many days too many to miss before it starts negatively affecting your student? Less than you think - and it doesn’t matter the reason. Whether they are too sick to get to school or life just gets in the way and can’t get your student to class that day - all absences matter. Missing just 10% of the school year means our students can’t learn as well and end up falling behind. Depending on your school, that as little around 18 days of school missed over the whole year or just 2 days per month. You might hear this referred to by your school or school district as “Chronic Absenteeism,” and it has been associated with third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing subjects, and ninth-graders dropping out of high school.

Here’s another surprising fact about absences: Other students’ poor attendance can affect your student’s success in school too. When teachers have to bounce between old and new lessons to accommodate those who missed class, then no one learns at the right pace for success. The good news? Families and school can work together to make sure absences don’t become a problem for any student.

Health-related Absences

Students’ physical and mental health conditions are actually the leading cause of chronic absenteeism. Schools play a major role in keeping our kids healthy enough to attend class every day. Schools are working hard to create a healthy environment at school. For example, every school can make sure they are a safe and clean place to learn and grow - a place that’s free of things that could trigger common health issues students may have, such allergies or asthma. Schools can also help connect us to health services our students need for other chronic conditions that can cause them to miss school, like diabetes or depression.  Plus, schools provide healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity - which build strong bodies that fight off illness, and strong minds to learn.

Families can also make sure they really know whether their student is too sick to go to school or not. Of course no one wants to spread germs, but when families hold a student out of school for things like a minor cold, those absences start to add up. And what if one child in a family is sick but not all of them? Parents and caregivers can still make sure the students who aren’t sick do get to school. Otherwise we risk all of them falling behind.    

Mental Health Matters too!

Health-related causes of missing school aren’t just about physical health - mental health plays a big role too! Did you know depression is actually pretty common in youth? According to the CDC, approximately 1.9 million children aged 3 - 17 years have diagnosed depression. Students with depression often miss school because of the symptoms or because they are receiving treatment during the school day. Schools as well as parents or caregivers play a role in helping youth maintain good mental health so they can continue to learn and thrive at school.

Since half of mental health conditions begin by age 14, staying aware of your child’s mental and emotional well-being is very important for all parents and caregivers! Knowing the signs of depression to look out for means you can be proactive about your child’s mental health and preventing any missed school because of it. Monitor and note your child’s moods and habits. If you notice changes in your child’s eating or sleeping habits, a change in energy levels, or he/she is sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks, you should reach out for help and guidance. Connect with your pediatrician, school, or other families and be honest about what you’re observing with your child’s behavior. Schools can be a great support and resource for you and your child and help connect you to any services your child might need. For parents and caregivers of children experiencing depression, open communication with school staff is also important because it can help make sure there is a plan in place to ensure your child doesn’t fall behind due to missed class.

Hidden Numbers

When families and schools pay attention to sometimes under the radar numbers of absences, they can prevent the negative effects on students before they happen! For parents and caregivers, it’s important to stay informed on your students attendance, and District 209 has a tool to do just that: PowerSchool. You can set up alerts for missing class, missing assignments, grades and especially attendance - to make sure those absence numbers aren’t adding up to risky levels.


For schools themselves, many rely mostly on “Attendance” numbers: how many students show up to school each day. But they may pay less attention to “Absence” numbers: who is NOT showing up. Schools are already required to keep track of and report numbers of absences - but with your encouragement, they can make better use of them to benefit our students.  When they do, they are able to see which students’ absences are getting to risky levels, and use the process in place to support these students and their families to make it easier to get that student to school.

So spread the word by sharing the video below (who doesn’t love puppets!?), and check out the section above for easy ways to take action!


A Piece of the School Wellness Puzzle

Attendance is just one important piece of a much part of a larger picture of “School Wellness.” School wellness efforts are aimed at creating the healthiest school environment possible for our youth to learn and grow. Schools provide a place for students to not only learn what’s in their books and on the whiteboard, but to develop healthy habits, like healthy eating and being physically active. This makes preventing absences and getting to school EVERY day all the more important. Students who show good attendance, eat well, and stay active, also perform better in school, showing higher grades and test scores.

All school districts already have written standards in place to make sure they provide your students with the healthiest school environment possible - typically referred to as a School Wellness Policy. But they need parents and families like you to make sure those standards are up to par, and are actually implemented at your individual schools!


Sign up to receive campaign updates. No spam, promise! Just important info to keep your student’s school healthy.

Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY