Opinion

Editorial: Lynn schools put the focus on showing up

It’s called “Every Student, Every Day,” and the drive by the Lynn public schools to reduce student absenteeism is a success story that goes beyond reports and statistics.

In 2018, 35.8 percent of high school students were chronically absent, according to school reports. Numbers compiled in mid-January showed the absenteeism rate dropped to 29.7 percent.

A four-month focus on important problems in the Lynn public schools has produced tangible results and the improvement in student attendance is worth celebrating.

Mentors from all types of different backgrounds almost always agree that showing up for school or any life pursuit is not just half the battle — it’s the only way to turn opportunity into success.

Teachers like to hold up for example stellar students who excel in particular academic discipline and are reaching for the stars. But teachers and coaches almost always agree that the student or athlete who shows up on time for school or practice and focuses on putting in solid work is the real role model for success in a classroom or on a team.

That hard work begins with showing up and striving to have perfect attendance. As School Committee member Brian Castellanos said, education is the opportunity to start down a successful and rewarding career path and to raise a healthy family.

But the bedrock of education is attendance and a determination to show up at school even on days when classes are not exciting or subjects and lessons seem too hard to grasp.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 18 or more days or 10 percent or more of the school year. The average person works at least 250 days a year and missing 25 days from a job would place an employee well past the mark for dismissal based on absenteeism.

School attendance more than class participation, more than immaculately-prepared reports and acing tests is a true indication that a student is ready to learn and is making an effort every day to learn.

The Lynn public schools deserve applause for focusing on absenteeism and for preparing to focus on social and emotional learning and the relationship between emotional health and absenteeism.

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