August 30, 2022
The Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB) is excited to welcome students and their families back to our schools on Tuesday September 6. While students have been off for summer break, planning for the upcoming school year has been in full swing. A new school year allows for a fresh start and brings the opportunity to build new relationships and healthy habits in our homes and schools.
Regular school attendance has always been fundamental to student success. The COVID-19 pandemic has served to underscore this fact. During the past two years, transitions between in-person and online learning as well as mandatory self-isolation periods led some students to disengage from school which resulted in an overall decline in their achievement. Research tells us that missing just 10% of school, or 2 days a month, has a notable impact on academic success. This context has led AMDSB to launch its first ever attendance campaign: I AM Here.
The I AM Here campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of regular daily attendance and to provide staff, students and parents/guardians with the necessary tools to bolster attendance across Huron and Perth counties. For students, “I AM Here” means that they are present, on time and ready to learn each day. For school staff, “I AM Here” means that they stand with their students. They are reliable, dependable, caring adults who facilitate a safe, welcoming classroom environment and are invested in each student’s success. For parents/ guardians, “I AM Here” means that they are engaged in encouraging their child’s education and are ready to connect with school staff when necessary. And for the community, “I AM Here” means that we support and encourage our children and youth by offering support – financial, physical, emotional, social – to ensure that students can attend school regularly. With additional information and resources, we are hopeful that the 2022-23 school year will be a memorable one. A year of hope for new healthy relationships, and for engagement in rich and meaningful learning and extracurricular activities.
The focus on student attendance will be supported by four Attendance Counsellors, who will be working collaboratively with our Mental Health and Wellbeing Coaches, Administrators and community partners. Our trained staff will provide students with techniques to reduce anxiety and stress through the use of healthy coping strategies. If necessary, they can also support referrals to alternative programming or to community resources. Working with parents/guardians, they will support the development of a plan that encourages a full return to academic learning. Students and parents/guardians are asked to contact their school Principal to access the support of an Attendance Counsellor.
“We know that regular attendance is crucial to student success. This campaign will not only raise awareness about this fact but also provide information and resources for students and families who might be struggling to regularly attend. Our hope is to provide the right support where it’s needed.” says Emma Watts, System Principal.
The I AM Here campaign will officially launch in September 2022. Watch AMDSB social media, school newsletters and other communication from AMDSB for strategies and tips to support a child’s regular attendance. For more information about the campaign, please visit amdsb.ca/iamhere.
For more information, please contact:
Chera Longston, Manager of Communications and Public Relations