Chronic absenteeism is a widespread issue that affects many schools and students worldwide. Defined as a student missing 10% or more of school days in a year, that translates to about 18 days or more per year. Absenteeism can have a significant impact on student achievement and success, so it’s crucial to find ways to improve school attendance.
There are many reasons why students may miss school, including illness, family responsibilities, lack of transportation, bullying, and disengagement from school. To improve attendance, schools must address these underlying issues and create a positive and welcoming learning environment.
Here are six strategies that districts and schools can use to improve attendance:
1. Regular communication with parents and guardians
Regular communication with parents and guardians is essential to improving attendance. Schools should make sure that families understand the importance of attendance and the negative effects of chronic absenteeism on their child’s academic success. They should also be informed of the school’s attendance policy and the consequences of excessive absences. This can be done at the beginning of each semester and in September during attendance awareness month in newsletters and even a social media campaign.
With ParentSquare, teachers and administrators can easily and securely send and receive direct messages from parents and guardians. With two-way communication and real-time translation, educators can build relationships with families and encourage regular attendance.
ParentSquare also makes it easy for schools to call home through a new feature called Virtual Phone. All calls are automatically documented and tracked within the platform alongside educators’ other communications with families on this issue. Staff members can document the reason for the call as “Absenteeism” as well as add their own notes.
2. Notify families of absence or tardiness in real-time
Alerting parents and guardians of an absence or tardiness quickly can resolve many student attendance issues. Some attendance protocols depend on paper class rosters, human data input and finally a phone call home when the attendance clerk finds the time. Instead of waiting until the end of the school day to notify families, send an alert immediately to determine if the absence is excused or unexcused. This can help you identify a pattern quickly and, for parents and guardians that are actively engaged, solutions can be found promptly.
ParentSquare’s Auto Notice feature sends automated and customized notices home with any student-specific information and for various scenarios, including absenteeism issues. By delivering these notices via email, voice message, text or app notification, you can reach parents where they are and instantaneously notify them before the issue becomes recurrent. ParentSquare also provides a quick and easy way for parents/guardians to submit excused absence notes.
3. Identify and support at-risk students
Work with your team to identify students who are at risk of chronic absenteeism and provide them with targeted support. This support can include mentoring, tutoring, and counseling. Schools can also work with community partners to provide resources and services to support these students and their families.
4. Use data to track attendance trends
Schools should use data to track attendance and identify trends and patterns in absenteeism for a big picture look at what’s going on in the school district. By segmenting your data, you can more easily identify specific student populations that are having trouble (Think walkers, bus routes, socioeconomic, ethnicity, etc.) This data can help schools identify areas where they need to focus their efforts and develop targeted strategies to improve attendance. For example, perhaps the data identifies a trend of tardiness with students who walk to school and a discussion can be had about crosswalks.
5. Create a positive school culture
Creating a positive school culture that values attendance and encourages students to come to school every day is critical. Schools can create a positive culture by recognizing and celebrating good attendance and creating a welcoming environment that students want to be a part of.
Showcase student stories and how your team is creating a positive school culture by adding photos and videos to your communications! With ParentSquare, you can create engaging and visually appealing messaging that can be pushed to connected social media platforms in one easy click. Newsletters can also be created directly in the platform, so there are no email lists to keep track of or update and no coding to figure out.
6. Provide incentives
Schools can provide incentives to students who have good attendance, such as certificates or awards. Incentives can motivate students to come to school regularly and help create a positive school culture that values attendance.
ParentSquare can help you combat chronic absenteeism and improve school attendance in many other ways, including…
- Keeping students up to date with assignments and providing them with open lines of communication with their teachers via StudentSquare
- Delivering secure documents through the platform such as targeted and personalized letters about attendance
- Using ParentSquare’s dashboard to see which parents/guardians aren’t receiving notifications or who needs to update their contact information
Chronic absenteeism is a significant issue that schools must address to improve student achievement and success. When a parent/guardian is engaged in their child’s education, they become valued partners and students see that their education is important to their family. By building stronger relationships with families, schools can improve attendance and help students reach their full potential.
ParentSquare is here to help you in all of your student success initiatives. Learn more about these features and many more by booking a demo today!