Too many children in Nashville are missing too many school days – more than half of our students are not meeting the satisfactory attendance criteria and over the last four years, 18 percent of our students have missed at least 18 or more school days a year.

These absences add up and we know:

  • Students who are not in school miss out on valuable instruction time, which impacts their academic success.
  • Students with five or more absences are more likely to not read on grade level by third grade, a key indicator of future success.
  • A pattern of chronic absenteeism can lower a student’s chances of graduating.

This semester, we will focus on attendance using targeted, proactive communications and we need your help. We will have the best results if we all work together to improve our attendance rate from 94 to 95 percent by May.


  • Student’s personal illness
  • Family member’s illness that requires the student’s temporary help
  • Death in the family (up to three days)
  • Deployment of a parent or guardian serving in the military (one day for deployment, one day for return and up to 10 days when the service member is on temporary leave at home)
  • Head lice (up to three days per infestation)
  • Recognized religious holidays regularly observed by persons of the child’s faith
  • Court appearance or legally mandated meetings
  • Documented school or college visitations (up to three days)
  • A principal may allow the following circumstances to be considered an excused absence if the parent or guardian submits a written request:
  • Doctor or dental appointments
  • Other circumstances requested in writing by the parent or guardian that the principal considers to require a child’s absence


All instructional time is important.  Arriving to school on time and staying in school all day allows students to receive all available instruction, engage in social and emotional experiences, hear important announcements, and develop positive lifelong habits.  Alternately, students who arrive late or leave early miss valuable instruction time, disrupt the flow of class, distract students, and impede learning.