Attendance is essential to academic success, but all too often, parents and students don’t realize how absences can add up to academic trouble.
Chronic absenteeism – missing 10 percent of the school year – is just 2-3 days each month. However, this can translate into third graders unable to master reading, sixth graders failing classes and ninth graders dropping out of high school.
Here are 3 everyday strategies k-12 schools can implement to improve student attendance:
1. Recognize Good and Improved Student Attendance
School communities can help send a clear message that going to school every day is a priority by providing incentives to students and families who have good and improved attendance rates. For example, some k-12 school districts in Alaska offer prizes to students who have perfect or outstanding attendance.
2. Provide Personalized Outreach Early
The most critical strategy is using data to trigger outreach to students and parents that are miss too many days of school. Outreach is essential to identify barriers to attendance, including: hunger, health, shelter and transportation.
3. Engage Parents and Students
A key component of the engagement is helping parents and students learn about the positive impact of good attendance and the negative effects of chronic absenteeism. This information could be shared on the school’s website, during parent-teacher conferences or in personalized alerts sent directly to parents.
Bonus Tip! Many schools have reduced absenteeism rates by sending automated attendance alerts to parents when their child is absent. It improves parent involvement and is more efficient than manually contacting parents.