Area school districts want students and parents to "Strive for less than five days absent" this year. The challenge, an initiative of the United Way of the Quad Cities; the Arconic Foundation; and eight area school districts, is aimed at decreasing the amount of kids who either fall behind or don't graduate high school. This, according to an article in the Rock Island Dispatch-Argus.

In the Quad Cities a little less than 40% of students miss nine or more days of school. Too many absences impacts a young student's ability to read. Kids not reading at level by third grade are four times less likely to graduate high school. Being in school is key to a student's success.

So why is five the magic number for absences? Easy, it's not overly difficult for students who miss five or less days a year to make up the work and keep up. Beyond that it becomes difficult for the student to make up the work.

Here are five tips from the campaign to help students and parents be at school on time every day:

  • Set a regular bedtime.
  • Prep clothes and backpacks the night before.
  • Only keep children home if they are truly sick.
  • Have a back-up plan for getting to school.
  • Avoid scheduling doctor's appointments and trips during school hours.

Most districts are participating in a special "Challenge 5 Day" on August 30, where they would like every student to come to school that day.