Diedre K.Y. Coleman
Principal, Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School

Principal Coleman's school is located in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago.

As a principal in Englewood, I see the obstacles facing too many of our students: terrible poverty, violence on the streets, problems at home. Yet, with the help of our parents and teachers, many of our students are rising above these challenges every day to attend school and succeed in the classroom. We are united as a school to make student attendance a top priority, and we urge you to do the same.

At our school, this has been an all-hands-on-deck community effort. I’ve been knocking on doors, and parents are joining me, as we try to reach every child in the neighborhood. To show that we are all in this together, families are signing pledge cards committing to send their kids to school. And you know what? We are seeing improved attendance already this school year.

Regular attendance helps your child learn and improve their chances of graduating high school and going on to college or seeking trades. And, in Chicago, ATTENDANCE affects our school’s budget. Higher attendance means more dollars to our school.

Generally speaking, each school’s population is determined by its enrollment on the 10th day of school, with some adjustments around the 20th day. Less funding can lead to tough decisions that no principal relishes.

Holmes has already survived the first round with minimal fiscal impact, however, Chicago’s 20th day of school is next Monday, October 3, which could lead to more impacts. I hope you will join me, the dedicated parents at my school, and many others across the city who are pledging to help keep our children on track to a bright future. Make sure your child is in school on the 20th day of this new school year. Then encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.

Good attendance habits are integral to the culture at my school and, with the help of parents and community members like you, I know they’ll continue to shape the culture of schools across the city.

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