By Interim Superintendent Van Ayres

With the first month of classes completed, I am happy to say that we’ve had a great start to the school year in Hillsborough County Public Schools. “Hillsborough Strong, Everyone Matters” has been our motto throughout the summer — with more than 24,000 employees working towards the same goal of creating the best education for your children. Since becoming your interim superintendent, I have also wanted to stress the importance of student attendance in our district; that Every Day Matters.

Nationwide, we are witnessing school attendance as a major issue, with chronic absenteeism — missing 10 percent or more of the school year — widespread across school districts. One out of three students nationwide is chronically absent, and students in our district are no exception. Research has shown that chronic absenteeism negatively impacts students, in both their academics and behavior.

To combat this, I want parents and guardians to know that our district is focusing on the ABCs — Attendance, Behavior, and Course Performance. The ABCs are powerful predictors of high school completion. By coming to class every day, students can be engaged in their coursework and on the path to graduation.

It is understandable that there are situations in which a student has to miss a day of school, but I want to encourage families to keep an open line of communication with their child’s school and ensure that any missed work is made up, so your student does not fall behind. Our schools have resources to provide stability to children and families during challenging times.

By working together, all of us — our schools, families and community — can ensure all children get to school every day so they have an opportunity to learn, succeed and realize their dreams.

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