Kingsport City Schools to Recognize September as Attendance Awareness Month

KINGSPORT, TENN. – Kingsport City Schools (KCS) has joined a nationwide effort to recognize Attendance Awareness Month in September by raising awareness of regular school attendance and focusing on reducing chronic absenteeism among students.

Chronic absence is described as missing 10 percent of the school year (missing as few as two days per month) for any reason, excused or unexcused. Absences lead to students missing valuable instructional time which could cause them to fall behind academically; making it difficult to catch up. 

Based on KCS attendance data, during the 2022-23 school year approximately one in four KCS students were chronically absent. According to AttendanceWorks, since the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 16 million students nationwide are chronically absent. 

“The importance of regular school attendance can't be overstated,” said KCS Superintendent Dr. Chris Hampton. “We understand certain illnesses require students to miss school, but otherwise, student attendance is critical to academic growth and social development. I would encourage families to reach out to school officials to work on solutions to improve chronic school absences. Schools will continue reaching out to families as well.”

Starting as early as Pre-K and Kindergarten, chronic absence predicts lower 3rd Grade reading scores. By middle school, it’s a warning sign that students will fail key classes and drop out of high school. Based on a study provided by AttendanceWorks, a student who is chronically absent in any year between 8th-12th Grade is 7.4 times more likely to drop out of high school than students with better attendance.

“‘All in for Less than 10’ is the slogan for this school year meaning we are setting a goal for students to have 10 or fewer total absences this year.” said Matthew Smith, KCS Coordinator of Attendance. “Attendance Staff are working diligently to build a relationship with families to help identify barriers keeping students from being in school on a regular basis. We conduct individual attendance assessments with students and families to help them identify strengths and challenges. Those assessments help us connect students and families with appropriate school and community resources. In addition, it helps establish communication with families which is critically important when a student is struggling with attendance issues.”

The KCS Attendance Department plans to host community meet-n-greets several times a semester to educate families and the community in regard to the value of school attendance. In addition, promotional materials have been distributed to the schools and a social media campaign will kick off in September. 

KCS resources available for families:

  • Visit the KCS Attendance Expectations and Information webpage found on - Families dropdown.
  • Track your child’s attendance and academic performance in Aspen found on - Families dropdown. Email [email protected] to request your login information.
  • Reach out to your child’s teacher, school counselor, or school administrator directly.
  • Contact your child’s school nurse with questions if your child should come to school or stay home if they are not feeling well.
  • Contact Jim Nash, Chief Student Services Officer at [email protected]
  • Contact Matthew Smith, Coordinator of Attendance at [email protected]
  • Contact Candice Cradic, Coordinator of Family Resource Center at [email protected]
  • Contact Michele Wilder, Coordinator of Homeless Education Program at [email protected].

For additional information on attendance awareness, email Matthew Smith at [email protected].

Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, a high school program of choice, and an alternative learning program; with a total enrollment of over 7,900 students. 

KCS has been ranked the "#1 Best Place to Teach in Tennessee" by the 2023 NICHE Best Schools Ranking and the City of Kingsport has been voted as the "Nicest Places in America" in the October 2022 Reader's Digest.

For more information visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, or call the KCS Administrative Support Center at (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (kcsdistrict), Instagram (kcs__district), Twitter (@kcs__district), LinkedIn (kcsdistrict), and check out our YouTube Channel (@kcs__district).