Three Keys to Reducing Absenteeism

Across the nation, parents and school districts are battling a lesser-known academic crisis that can have lifelong consequences: chronic absenteeism. Data shows that students who are chronically absent or “miss at least 15 days of school in a year” are more at risk of falling behind in their schoolwork, missing early learning milestones, and dropping out before graduation. And the number of chronically absent students has skyrocketed across the country—even after students have returned to school since the onset of the pandemic.

That’s why, now more than ever, it’s important to ensure students are in school every day and have the tools they need to succeed. Thankfully, there are three proven best strategies for curbing absenteeism:

Increased Communication Between Schools and Families

The first few days of school are critical when it comes to attendance. Schools that take steps to communicate with and support students at the beginning of the school year will likely see fewer absences and more on-time starts.

Many schools, such as K12-powered schools, have communication standards to help ensure students are in class from day one. Their Strong Start program is backed by research and includes:

  • Communication between the school, the student, and a parent before school begins;
  • An orientation course to familiarize students with the online classroom and what to expect from the school; and
  • Proactive communication from the school if a student hasn’t logged into their classroom within the first three days.

Beyond these first few days, students should be reached out to and offered support if they appear to be on a path toward chronic absenteeism. The school may be able to intervene and provide the encouragement the student needs.

Foster Student Engagement

Education has come leaps and bounds in the last few years, with innovative approaches to learning complemented by new technology that can help captivate a young student. Look at your child’s school curriculum. Is it engaging and does it incorporate learning tools that will make your child excited to learn?

Research has shown that interactive content options can help keep students engaged and encourage them to have fun as they learn. Game-based learning with Minecraft Education and video content and interactive lessons from Doggyland are just a few ways some schools are fostering student engagement while staying aligned with state standards. At K12-powered schools, students can also interact with their peers and teachers in the K12 Zone—a collaborative virtual campus where they can access fun learning resources and participate in clubs, games, and activities.  

Strong Accountability Standards

Schools should be looking inward at what their attendance rate is and what needs to be improved to help keep students in school. In other words, strong accountability standards that involve consistent review of daily attendance, analysis of trends, and action for improvement are crucial.

Talk to your child’s school to see how they monitor attendance and what strategies they use to battle absenteeism. At K12-powered schools, each school follows a playbook to measure daily attendance and overall retention. This keeps each school accountable and helps it identify students who could benefit from communication and encouragement.

As parents, we can support our children by ensuring they are in a school or district that is proactive in keeping their students engaged and employing solutions to keep students in school. These three strategies, along with others, are helping some schools stand head and shoulders above the rest.

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