Lexington ISD is joining school districts across the state and nation in initiating the first-ever Attendance Awareness Month. I encourage all parents to help their child be present for school every day, unless he or she is sick. Every day a child misses school, including the days before and after a student holiday, costs Lexington ISD state funding. Much more importantly, the student loses out on valuable time in the classroom and an opportunity to learn. Additionally, there are many research studies that show students who are chronically absent from kindergarten and first grade have trouble mastering reading, and by sixth grade, missing too much school is a warning sign that a student is at risk of becoming a dropout. By the time students are in ninth grade, good attendance is a better predictor of graduation than eighth grade test scores. Does that mean that all students who are frequently absent from kindergarten and first grade are going to have trouble learning to read? Of course not; however, we must be mindful that missing school matters and chronic absences can easily lead to academic trouble. I am, therefore, asking our wonderful and supportive Lexington community to help us deliver the message that good attendance is important for success in school and in life.