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May 13, 2024

Setting the Stage for Strong Attendance: 5 Strategies for Success

As the school year draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how we can set our students up for strong attendance next year. We know consistent school attendance is fundamental to student success, so let’s explore strategies to make it happen!

The Challenge of Chronic Absenteeism

When students miss 10% or more school days, it becomes a widespread issue with far-reaching consequences. Absenteeism can negatively impact a student’s academic progress, social development, and overall well-being. Sadly, while some progress has been made, chronic absenteeism rates remain worryingly high. A recent study by FutureEd found that in the 2022-23 school year, over 30 states reported chronic absenteeism rates at or above pre-pandemic levels.

Springtime Prep for Fall Success

With a little planning now, we can create a school-wide culture that supports strong attendance. Here are five key actions to consider this spring:

Image Credit: Attendance Works

1. Join the Attendance Awareness Campaign 2024

Attendance Works hosts an annual Attendance Awareness Campaign, a nationwide effort to promote the importance of regular school attendance. The campaign offers ready-to-use resources, toolkits, and strategies to boost attendance awareness within school communities. By participating, schools gain access to research-backed tools, support in developing positive messaging, and opportunities to connect with a wider network of educators dedicated to improving student attendance, including helpful webinars. Join the campaign!

Image Credit: Attendance Works

2. Plan Ahead!

Use Attendance Works’ “What to Do When” suggestions to guide your planning, explore their sample Year-Long Planning Calendars with recommended month-by-month activities at the Preschool, K-12, and District levels, and use their Yearly Planning Tool templates to map out actions in your setting.

3. Cultivate Belonging for Students and Families

A sense of belonging is crucial for student and family engagement, encouraging them to feel actively involved in the school community. Belonging is a key contributor to good attendance! Explore Attendance Works’ Belonging to School Grid, with attendance-boosting strategies for spring that make students feel welcome. The grid uses a tiered approach for different levels of support. Use these examples to spark ideas for your school or district.

4. Encourage Summer Learning

Sharing information about summer programs helps prevent learning loss and makes the return to school smoother in the fall. Everyone can play a part – from sharing program details to encouraging families to participate. Check out the resources below for suggestions!

5. Celebrate Attendance Awareness Month in September

This September, put your spring planning into action by celebrating Attendance Awareness Month! This is a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of attendance. Kick things off with a school-wide assembly highlighting attendance goals. Get creative with student-designed posters promoting attendance that can be displayed throughout the school. You could even have students and staff record video PSAs to share with families, emphasizing why showing up each day matters! Get inspired by the PSAs below, created by schools across the country!

Need More? We’ve Got You.

By working together, we can make this year’s strong finish the foundation for an even more successful school year in the fall!


About the Author

Sarah Murphy is the Evaluation Manager and a Professional Learning Specialist at Teaching Channel. She holds a B.A. in History and a Master’s in Education. Sarah began teaching in 2004 at the elementary level. She now leads Teaching Channel’s Evaluation Team, managing our wonderful team of Course Evaluators. Sarah is also a coursewriter and content creator, specializing in edtech, educator wellness, and content area teaching.

Fun fact: Sarah has camped in 18 national parks and hopes to visit all 63 someday!

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