Eight school districts, the Arconic Foundation, and United Way rallied around the Challenge 5 initiative, encouraging all students to “Strive for Less than 5” absences this school year. 

Today is Challenge 5 Day in local schools, with a challenge to have 100% attendance in all classrooms and in all schools. Last year Challenge 5 Day was held August 30, 2017 and total attendance in Quad Cities schools was 96.1%. Attendance results will be reported later today.

Studies show that fewer than 5 absences in a year keeps learning on track. More than 5 absences each school year increases the risk of dropping out, and decreases the chance of graduating from high school. Students who miss up to five days of school can probably make up what they have missed. However, when a child misses 9 days of school it begins to have an effect on the student's ability to learn.

Last year, 19,681 Quad Cities students missed 9 or more days of school. Absenteeism rates improved that year with 39.2% of Quad Cities students missing 9 or more days of school, compared to 39.4% the previous year.

Students missing 18 or more days are considered "chronically absent." These statistics point to the reasons why attending school every day is so important:

• Chronically absent students score 20% lower in reading and math.
• Chronically absent students are twice as likely to have to repeat a grade.
• Chronically absent students are twice as likely to have their first suspension before 7th grade.

Students develop their attendance habits early in their school careers, but those habits tend to stick with them throughout school and into career and life. The more years a student is chronically absent, the more it impacts their grades and behavior. These negative impacts happen when students miss just two days per month throughout the school year. This is such a small number of absences that 58% of parents of chronically absent students believe that their child has attendance as good as, if not better, than their classmates.

For more information about Challenge 5, visit unitedwayqc.org/challenge5.


Jennifer Walker

Vice President of Brand Strategy & Marketing

United Way of the Quad Cities Area

852 Middle Rd., Suite 401

Bettendorf, IA 52722



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