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Tucson-area superintendents join Mayor in stressing importance of attendance


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  • Stefanie Boe/Tucson Unified School District

Tucson Unified Superintendent Dr. H.T. Sánchez And Hollinger 8th Grader David Noriega Talk About The Importance Of School Attendance. Photo Courtesy Of Tucson Unified School District Media

Many corners of Tucson connected in the library of Hollinger K-8 earlier this month to discuss the issue of classroom attendance.

The superintendents of four Tucson school districts, including Tucson Unified‘s Dr. H.T. Sánchez, joined Mayor Jonathan Rothschild to embrace the advent of attendance awareness month in September.


Video: September Attendance Awareness at Hollinger K-8

“Last year, school districts and community organizations in 45 states participated in this event,” announced Mayor Rothschild. “This is clearly an issue of national interest.”

Dr. Sánchez is eager to get TUSD involved in raising attendance awareness across the district and city.

“We love it when the mayor challenges us to be great,” stated Dr. Sánchez. “We’re taking this as a district-wide challenge where we’re comparing student attendance growth as well as designations at each of the campuses that have the best attendance.”

The University of Arizona and the United Way are also getting involved. Ronald W. Marx, the Dean of the College of Education at Arizona, spoke about the residual value of attendance.

“Schools in which absenteeism is high, all the children in those schools perform more poorly,” Marx informed.

Tony Penn, president and CEO of the Tucson chapter of the United Way, stressed that poverty and filial needs negatively affect school attendance in homes where parents work multiple jobs and rely on their children to tend to younger siblings while they work.

“We must do more,” Penn said, “to identify which students are chronically absent and then to deploy resources to help strengthen families and to help support the children’s education.”

Mayor Rothschild echoed Penn’s sentiment, stating that students missing school is often a decision made by the parent or guardian, and that it is critical to embrace parents so that they feel welcomed by the school and embrace school as a necessity in their child’s life. The mayor also applauded the various organizations for unifying to combat the issue, a sentiment shared across the board.

Dr. Sánchez explained, “This is an amazing and important opportunity for the entire city of Tucson to band together to send the message that coming to school is important, it is crucial, and it’s the best predictor of success.”

For information about why attendance matters, see this infographic from www.attendenceworks.org.

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Video: Tucson superintendents join Mayor in stressing the importance of attendance