Many schools and districts struggled with chronic absenteeism before the pandemic. Attendance dipped even further during the pandemic. The resources in this Spotlight show schools and districts using evidence-informed innovative strategies to promote healthy school attendance.
REL West at WestEd offers a robust collection of videos, webinars, and other tools to support educators with chronic absenteeism. The resources in this collection share how schools and districts can use data to design and carry out strategies to reduce chronic absence—from building community awareness to providing intensive one-on-one support for students and families. Educators can leverage these data-driven tools and best practices to implement multi-tiered systems to support student attendance.
REL West recently collaborated with three California school districts that have focused their resources on boosting attendance and supporting students who had been missing school.
“All three districts have invested in building strong cultures of attendance,” says WestEd’s BethAnn Berliner. “They let everyone in their communities know that daily attendance matters, that kids belong in school, and that they will do whatever it takes to help support student success, which starts with being present.”
Some of the schools use special incentives and rewards to reinforce key messaging, such as a traveling trophy and pizza parties, to celebrate good and improved attendance. Others also enlist the support of staff throughout the school and across the district—including counselors, bus drivers, food service workers, and janitorial staff—as well as community members, including business and city leaders.
District and school leaders and staff across the country are working hard to boost attendance and lower chronic absence rates. They are examining disaggregated data to identify who is missing school, going door-to-door to the homes of chronically absent students to find out why they are missing school, providing students and families with targeted services and supports, and strengthening relationships with students and families, among other practices to re-engage students in school and show that school staff care. At the same time, schools and districts are looking for fresh approaches and multi-tiered strategies to reduce chronic absence rates.
Stay informed about WestEd’s research, resources, services, events, and career opportunities by subscribing to our E-Bulletin. Our latest issue explores chronic absenteeism in more depth.
- Increasing Attendance to Support Learning Acceleration
- Multitiered Strategies for Promoting Good Attendance
- Can Telemedicine Improve School Attendance?
- Data Monitoring to Support Healthy Attendance
- Chronic Absenteeism Before and During the Pandemic
- Building a Culture of Attendance
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