It is no secret that one of the most crucial keys to success is to show up — which is exactly what students at Western Hills High School did on Statewide High Attendance Day in September. 

In fact, WHHS won the large division school category with a 96.73% attendance rate that day, said Franklin County Schools Pupil Personnel Director Kyle Sexton, who relayed the results to the school board at Monday evening’s meeting.

Officials stress the importance of attendance at the beginning of the school year because absenteeism in the first month can be an indicator of poor turnout for the remainder of the year. Roughly half of the students who miss two to four days of school in September will end up missing nearly a month of school by the time the end of the year rolls around. According to Attendance, more than 8 million students miss about a month of school each year.

The ill effects of poor attendance can start early. Statistics show that one in 10 kindergartners and first grade students are chronically absent, which can hinder progress. Those who don’t consistently attend school run the risk of being held back if they are not able to read proficiently by the end of third grade. Missing school is also a leading indicator that a student will drop out in high school.

However, students can better their chances of graduating by improving attendance. As a district, FCS had an average attendance rate of 94.98% for the third month of the school year, which includes days in October and November. Collins Lane Elementary led with 96.66% followed by WHHS with 94.95% and Bondurant Middle with 95.41%.

We commend Western Hills students and staff for emphasizing the value of showing up and being a leader not just in Franklin County but all of the state.

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