Participation was down at this year's Challenge 5 Day effort that encourages school attendance.
Thursday's multi-school effort resulted in a 95.5 percent attendance rate at the participating districts, according to organizers. That compares with 96.1 percent last year.
By midday Thursday, 2,053 students had not shown up for classes at the eight school districts. By comparison, on an average school day, 4,500 Quad-City students are absent from school.
"Think about it: in the Quad-Cities, it is considered 'normal' for 4,500 students to miss school every day," said Karrie Abbott, chief operations officer and vice president of community impact at United Way. "This not only affects student performance, it has an impact on the entire community."
The school districts and United Way were joined by the Arconic Foundation in the Challenge 5 campaign urging students to "Strive for Less than Five" absences throughout the current school year.
"There is an important link between student attendance and student achievement," said Pleasant Valley superintendent Jim Spelhaug. "Missing school weakens a student’s ability to meet important educational benchmarks at all levels."
Thursday's events featured a Challenge 5 rally at Virgil Grissom Elementary School in Princeton, Iowa. Program partners plan to continue to spread the message of Challenge 5 at other events and in other venues throughout the school year.
Organizers say students who miss more than nine days of the school year have lower grades and test scores. Students who miss more than 18 days, equivalent to 10 percent of the total school year, are more likely to have to repeat a grade and have their first expulsion before seventh grade, and are less likely to complete high school.
The attendance initiative is a collaborative effort with the East Moline, United Township High School, Moline-Coal Valley, Rock Island-Milan, North Scott, Davenport, Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley school districts.