School-wide attendance support represents universal strategies that encourage good attendance for all students and create a school culture of attendance. These activities are prevention oriented, and include positive messaging, family communication and the development of a welcoming climate that engages students and families.
Develop activities that welcome families back to school.
Intentional school-wide strategies implemented at the start of the school year can help to build a warm and welcoming environment that engages students and families. Check out these 4 ways to engage families from the start! Using R.E.A.L To Welcome Families Back to School – Attendance Works
The development of message campaigns with billboards, robocalls and slogans can help to promote attendance and school connectedness like Cleveland’s “Get 2 School. You Can Make it!.” Attendance campaign newsletters can also support positive attendance from the start and throughout the school year.
Build deeper relationships.
The check-in circle strategy increases social and self-awareness and the communication of feelings, encourages students and staff to practice active listening, and increases positive connection and a sense of community.
Calling students’ parents or guardians with good news creates strong staff-student relationships and encourages positive behavior. For families and caregivers, a positive call home may be the only communication they receive from school staff about their child’s wellbeing. 7 Reasons Why Principals Make Positive Phone Calls Home
Acknowledge attendance and value each learner.
Research has shown that greeting students at the door sets a positive tone and can increase engagement and reduce disruptive behavior. Spending a few moments welcoming students promotes a sense of belonging, giving them social and emotional support that helps them feel invested in their learning. Check out the following Edutopia resources: Welcoming Students With a Smile | Edutopia and Starting Each Class With a Warm Welcome | Edutopia.
Create opportunities to work together as a school community to reach attendance goals. Barnes Elementary, in Kelso, Washington, displayed a BEAR Attendance Path at the front of their school. Their BEAR school mascot needed 56,700 days of attendance (representing 90 percent attendance) to reach his cave at the end of the path. They intentionally set the number low to guarantee success and build momentum for the community. Each month, they totaled the number of days all students attended and added the days to the path. They also graphed average daily attendance by month and displayed it prominently in the front hall. Dramatically Improving Attendance | ASCD
For additional information, view the module shared by VDOE: Module 8: Recognizing Good and Improved Attendance
Use attendance data to provide proactive support.
Here are 4 strategies shared by Attendance Works that educators can use when looking to develop solutions that address attendance and are responsive to the unique needs of their community: monitor chronic absence data, consider needed support, review available resources, and connect with families. Use Data for Intervention and Support – Attendance Works
Make it a team effort.
Educators know from experience what research has revealed: consistent attendance matters. While all educators can help to ensure that students show up to class every day, the leadership role of a principal is critical. School leaders are uniquely positioned to support their school community to develop a comprehensive, tiered approach to improving attendance that aligns with their overall goal of promoting academic achievement. Check out this Attendance Works resource which provides guidance for those interested in using teams as a vehicle to improve attendance and reduce chronic absenteeism for all students.