Quad City schools kick off student attendance challenge

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Quad City leaders are challenging students to miss fewer than five days of school this year.

On Wednesday, August 30, superintendents from eight area school districts -- including Davenport, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley, North Scott, Rock Island-Milan, Moline, East Moline and United Township -- officially kicked off the "Challenge 5" initiative at Frances Willard Elementary in Rock Island. The goal is to improve school attendance by encouraging kids to miss no more than five days of class.

Last year, about 40 percent of Quad City students missed nine days of school or more.

"I think it snowballs. You can miss today because of whatever the reason -- insert the reason. But keeping the importance of being there everyday at the forefront of every family is crucial," said Jay Morrow, United Township superintendent.

School leaders say it's up to students, parents and community members to make attendance a priority.

They say some simple steps can help make sure kids get to school every day.

"Go to bed at a regular time, and get everything ready for the next day. Try not to have doctor's appointments during the school day or take your student out. It's the small things, but they're important," said Art Tate, Davenport superintendent.

School leaders were aiming for perfect attendance on Wednesday to help kick-off the program. Total attendance ended up reaching 96.1 across the Quad Cities, beating last year's daily average of 90.3 percent.

Two schools - Riverdale Heights and Children's Village JB Young -- had 100 percent attendance.