United Way of Wyoming Valley - Day of Caring - Cleaning up throughout the Wyoming Valley.
School Attendance


  • When kids are absent for an average of just two days of school per month—even when the absences are excused– it can have a negative impact. These absences can affect kids as early as Kindergarten.
  • Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) can make it harder for a child to learn.
  • Chronic absenteeism in kindergarten, and even pre-K, is associated with lower performance in 1st grade, and for poor children, predicts the lowest levels of academic achievement at the end of fifth grade.
  • By 6th grade absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  • By 9th grade missing 20% of school can be a better predictor of high school drop-out than 8th grade test scores.
  • Chronic absences do not just affect the students missing school. When too many children are absent, it slows down instruction for the other students. This makes it harder for students to learn and for teachers to teach.
  • Chronic absence is a problem we can solve when the whole community, along with parents and schools, gets involved in improving attendance.

The United Way's plan focuses on addressing the underlying challenges that can keep young children, especially those in low-income families, from learning to read proficiently. One of these challenges is school attendance--Too many young children are missing too many days of school.

Here are a few ways the United Way of Wyoming Valley is addressing to challenge of school attendance.


The Nurse’s Pantry provides at-risk students and families with access to commonly needed material items to address needs of an urgent nature. Pantry items include hygiene kits, lice kits, clothing and footwear. The Nurse’s Pantry will enable the nurse to directly assist struggling students and families, and in turn help reduce chronic absenteeism in early grade students.

Although schools must be accountable for helping all children achieve and for providing effective teaching for all children in every classroom every day, we know and believe that schools cannot succeed alone. With support from families, community organizations, supporters and others – we can make a difference. When we work together to monitor data, encourage a habit of regular attendance and reduce hurdles that keep children from getting to school, chronic absence will be reduced and third grade reading proficiency can be improved.

COVID Can’t Beat Caring Hygiene Kits for Kids

In addition to our school-based Nurse’s Pantry initiative, United Way has responded to the COVID crisis by creating a hygiene kit to support students learning in a remote setting. The kits promote personal hygiene that is critical to a child’s overall well-being and success in school.

Distributed in partnership with seven school districts throughout the school year, the kits contain essential items for elementary-age children such as shampoo, soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer and a face mask.

To View the Nurse's Pantry Flyer CLICK HERE.
CLICK HERE to read the latest article on The Nurse's Pantry.
CLICK HERE to watch video on The Nurse's Pantry.


See to Succeed has a simple yet transformative purpose -- giving students the gift of sight. A pair of eyeglasses can change lives and make learning possible. Good vision is particularly critical to children in the early grades who are learning the building blocks of literacy. Vision problems affect one in four school-age children.

The school nurse conducts vision screenings using the convenient, advanced technology of a Spot® Vision Screener tool. Students who failed the initial vision screening are then invited to participate in See to Succeed. A licensed optometrist and optician provide comprehensive eye exams in the school-setting, and students who are prescribed glasses get to choose their frames from a wide selection of styles and colors

To View the See to Succeed Flyer CLICK HERE.


We partner with dozens of local out of school time and summer learning providers to distribute attendance awareness literature from Attendance Works to help shine a spotlight on the importance of good attendance and give parents the tips they need to prepare children for a lifetime of success.

Please see the handouts below from Attendance Works on the importance of school attendance and what can happen if a student becomes chronically absent.

Build the Habit of Good Attendance Early (English) | VIEW HANDOUT
Build the Habit of Good Attendance Early (Spanish) | VIEW HANDOUT

Pay Attention to Attendance (English) | VIEW HANDOUT
Pay Attention to Attendance (Spanish) | VIEW HANDOUT

Attention to Attendance in Early Grades (English) | VIEW HANDOUT
Attention to Attendance in Early Grades (Spanish) | VIEW HANDOUT

Visit Attendance Works | CLICK HERE

courtesy of attendanceworks.org


United Way of Wyoming Valley has teamed up with the Wilkes-Barre Area School District to raise about the importance of attending school every day. In honor of September’s Attendance Awareness Month, the United Way of Wyoming Valley hosts an annual poster contest from September 1st through September 30th which aims to raise awareness among students and parents about the importance of going to school every day. Students and their families complete the poster together, and a team of judges from the school select a winner from each grade.

CLICK HERE to view the Poster Contest Winners.
To View the Attendance Awareness Poster Contest Flyer CLICK HERE.