Learn about the Here Campaign

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In Northern Ontario, the scope of persistent absenteeism is wide. That’s why we’ve created the Here campaign, for use by school boards across our region, to give “every school day counts” champions a brand, a name, and a voice. School board staff can use the Here campaign tools as a springboard to form directed, focused plans to combat absenteeism and bring students back to school.

Strive To Be Here

This campaign’s aim is to build awareness around the attendance issues in our region and to provide communication tools to help improve attendance in our schools

Why is it important?

In Ontario, school boards in the Thunder Bay Region have the highest rates of persistent absenteeism  at a whopping 21.6 percent. Based on 194 days of instruction, an Ontario elementary student who misses 19 days of school is deemed persistently absent. With the number of student appointments, sporting events, family commitments, travel days, and illness, it doesn’t take long to reach this number.

Studies and research support what teachers instinctively know: that student absence negatively affects academic performance and important emotional and social connections are compromised. These are a few possible outcomes for students who miss school:

Students who miss an average of two days per month in elementary school stand a 60% chance of dropping out in grade nine. (Every School Day Counts: Persistent Absenteeism in Ontario, 2016)

When students have high absenteeism in Grade 9, they are much more likely to drop out, and less likely to graduate. (Study of Absenteeism in the Toronto Board of Education, 1850 – 1997 by Robert S. Brown)

Students who are “not very involved at school” and “don’t like school much” are at greater risk of aggressive behaviour, substance abuse, smoking, violence, high risk sexual behaviour, and future attendance issues. (Statistics Canada’s National Longitudinal Study of Children & Youth 2005)

A higher absenteeism rate in kindergarten is associated with lower achievement in Grade 3. (Starting Early: A PDF Report prepared for the Education Quality and Accountability Office)

Who is this for?

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For students, “I’M HERE” means they are present.
They are on the roll. In their seats. We can count them in. They are “here” physically and mentally.

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For teachers and staff, “I’M HERE” tells us that there are dependable, concerned, and caring adults waiting to offer children a safe, welcoming, student-centred learning environment with an investment in their academic achievement.

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For parents,, “I’M HERE” means they are ready to assist. Ready to encourage their children, ready to reach out and ask for help if they need to, ready to team up with teachers and ready to make plans to ensure their children get to school.

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For community, “I’M HERE” demonstrates that organizations care about the children in their cities, towns and villages. They want to provide supports – medical, financial, social – to ensure that families can get their children to school.