Were you the kid that NEVER missed a day of school or did some adverse experience impact your ability to attend regularly? Many schools are experiencing chronic absenteeism. Research shows that 7.5 million students are missing at least 10% of the school year, excused and unexcused. Chronic absenteeism is a strong predictor of low academic achievement and high school dropout. Knowing how urgent the matter is, how can we get in front of chronic absenteeism?
First, we need to reflect and ask ourselves, why is chronic absenteeism a thing? There may be a variety of factors impacting student attendance, and it is important for us to be considerate as we build solutions. Kids could be missing because they are fearful of showing their academic challenges, struggling with peer relationships, dealing with traumatic life events, lacking transportation or are simply bored. Though we may not be able to diagnose every “why”, we can all answer the question, how do we strategically support students that are at risk of missing too much school?
Consider using the following strategies to bring “perfect attendance” back to reality by making school a fun, supportive place for students that may be at risk of chronic absenteeism!
One way to target chronic absenteeism is by ensuring that school is a place where kids are excited to be because they know what to expect, feel connected to the people they learn with, and are excited about how their learning connects to the vision they have for their lives.
Use the following ideas to ensure students are present every day:
Schools have the responsibility of teaching students and connecting them with resources to address areas of need. Simply put, some students are chronically absent because they need some form of intervention. Many students may be missing school due to academic ability, social issues, or challenges in their environment.
By being proactive, schools can notice student needs and address them early to prevent chronic absences from occurring:
A key to proactively addressing chronic absenteeism is being prepared. Form an attendance review team (utilizing an assistant principal, data manager, school social worker, dean of students, etc.) to set attendance goals, regularly monitor attendance, and communicate with parents about issues as they arise.
Collecting and analyzing attendance and tardy occurrences easily can ensure that you address challenges early.
Here at Kickboard we have seen many schools turnaround chronic absenteeism by using our mobile app, web platform, and professional development services to simplify attendance tracking and improve communication.
Being intentional about investing students in a fun school day and providing strategic support for a variety of needs that may arise can increase student attendance, influence academic progress, and contribute to the growth of a school towards meeting its mission. Be prepared to address chronic absenteeism, for any reason, by implementing the given strategies.