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Working Together to Support Student Attendance

Dear District 109 Families,

Regular student attendance is vital to student success and helps children feel better about school--and themselves.  Our goal in District 109 is to work together to ensure the success of every child and we are committed to working with you to support regular student attendance.


  • Starting in kindergarten, too many absences (excused and unexcused) can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  • By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.
  • By being present at school, your child learns valuable social skills and has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with other students and school staff.


This past year the state of Illinois once again recognized the importance of school attendance and adopted changes to how schools will be evaluated based on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in relation to Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy.   

  • Chronic absenteeism is defined as absences totaling 10 percent or more of school days, including absences with or without valid cause, during the school year. This means that if your child is absent for 18 days or more during the school year--for an excused or unexcused reason--she/he is considered chronically absent. 
  • Truancy is defined as a student who is absent without valid cause (unexcused) from school for 5% or more of the previous 180 regular attendance days.  This means that if your child has 9 or more unexcused absences they are considered truant.

State school code, DPS109 school board policy 7:70, as well as our 2018-2019 student handbook provides for the following reasons for excused absences.

  • Excused absences include: illness, observance of a religious holiday or religious instruction, death in the immediate family, family emergency, situations beyond the control of the student, circumstances that cause reasonable concern to the parent/guardian for the student’s safety or health. 


District 109’s goal is to work with our families to support positive school attendance.  We know that there are a wide variety of reasons that students are absent from school. There are many people in our building prepared to help you if you or your student face challenges in getting to school regularly or on time. We promise to track attendance daily, communicate with you to understand why your child was absent, and to identify barriers to regular attendance as well as supports available to overcome challenges you may face in helping your student attend school.  


We miss your student when they are gone and we value their contribution to their school. We ask you to help ensure your student attends school regularly.

  • Report the absence as soon as possible
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless they are truly sick
  • Try to avoid appointments and travel when school is in session
  • Keep track of your student’s attendance
  • Set a regular bedtime and morning routine

Together we can work to improve student attendance and ensure students are engaged, inspired, and empowered in school.


Anthony McConnell, Ed.D
(847) 945-1844 x7231
Superintendent's Blog
Twitter Logo@mcconnellaw