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In Illinois, state law says illness, a death in the family, or religious holidays are “valid causes” for school absence, and students are considered a “habitual truant” if they miss five percent of the prior 180 regular attendance days, or nine days.“Chronic absence” is defined as having absences that total 10 percent or more of school days of the most recent academic school year.
The Illinois State Board of Education “encourages parents, caregivers, and schools to support students’ attendance every day,” says spokeswoman Jackie Matthews, noting those studies.
States do more than encourage and have passed laws regarding student absences.
The Illinois State Board of Education allows school districts to determine how they will handle absences for reasons other than “valid causes.” We spoke with dozens of parents and they reported a wide range of responses by school administrators, and sometimes responses vary by buildings within a district.“Each school has an attendance team who reviews student attendance trends and works with students and their families to resolve whatever issues are keeping them from being in school,” says Nancy Voise, assistant superintendent of secondary education at Naperville Community School District 203.“We take school attendance seriously as we know the impact this has on student performance,” says Voise.
“If children aren’t in school they aren’t learning.
It can send them into panic mode and can really set them back,” explains Neely.“You need to know how your child is doing academically and understand when you’re leaving what kind of instruction they will be missing.
Skipping School Essay
If your kid is struggling in a subject, and you’re going on an optional vacation, that’s not a good idea.Students also miss out on social interaction and the sense that they are part of a community, which Richards notes can be difficult at different times of the academic year, particularly in the first weeks of school.“If you can avoid taking vacation while your child is in school, avoid it.But sometimes there are circumstances that make it unavoidable and when that’s the case, be intentional about it,” says Chang.“You don’t want to go on a great trip if it means your kid won’t get credit for a class,” says Richards.Even if your school’s policies make family travel during the school year possible, it’s not always a good idea for every student.There is no right or wrong answer for everyone because it really depends on each individual child and their needs, according to Julianne Neely, founder and therapist at Individual and Family Connection in Chicago.“It really depends on the kid,” she says.She notes that for some children, especially those feeling disconnected from their parents, time away together can be helpful and make kids better able to cope at school when they return.People have strong opinions that go both ways, and every family has to decide for themselves.If you’ve been struggling with whether to stay home or pack your bags, here are four things to keep in mind before you decide.“It’s up to you as the parent to know your district’s policies,” says Cindy Richards, editor-in-chief of two leading family travel websites, Traveling and Traveling Reducing chronic absences can help close achievement gaps.”Other states offer alternatives for parents who travel.In California, for example, the Education Code allows parents to request and sign contracts for independent study packets if a child will miss five or more days due to travel or vacation.