It used to be a mark in a physical grade book. Now it could be a checkbox on a computer screen. Or a capital A for absent. It is very easy to check off the student as not present.

Every day we do it, and it has become a pretty meaningless act. No thought goes into it, and no reflection comes out of it.

As you check off your attendance list this morning, think critically about what you are doing.

Ask yourself a simple question: What’s the story behind the check mark?

Every check mark has a story.

The child who is there every day has someone behind them supporting, encouraging them to come to school when they are tired.

The child who may be absent several times a week may have a single parent who also has a five year old, and a three year old and it’s pouring down rain.

The child who misses the bus because she is responsible for getting her younger sister on the bus. A child who needs to be the responsible adult because the actual adult is working a second or third job to make ends meet.

Every check mark has a story.

It’s our job to figure out what the story is behind the absence.




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