How Can We Deliver the Message?

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in huge losses in school-based learning opportunities, especially for communities hit hardest by the pandemic. As schools and communities develop and implement plans for addressing the impacts from disrupted learning, putting in place messaging that encourages attendance is critical. Schools and teachers can offer welcoming messages to help students and families get back into a regular routine of attendance. They can share what students will be learning so students feel excited about showing up to school.

Positive messaging can help students and families realize that daily attendance is key to reaching their dreams of a successful future. The message we must deliver is that every absence makes a difference at every grade level. Research shows that two to four missed days in the first month of school can predict chronic absence throughout the year. Spreading the message about good attendance at the start of the school year can get everyone off to a good start.

Here are four key steps for messaging about good attendance. Click on the one that interests you for tips, templates, and resources.

  1. Incorporate information about attendance into daily interactions with families
    The responsibility for good attendance starts with families, and messaging efforts should start there, too. Keep in mind that attendance is an early indicator of engagement or disengagement from school.
  1. Attendance Incentives and Contests
    The opening of school is an excellent time to put in place a strong system of incentives to encourage better attendance among students and their families, or to make sure an existing system recognizes good and improved attendance, not perfect attendance.
  1. Host Special Events
    The new school year means back-to-school night for parents and assemblies for students. Whether these events are in person or virtual, these are ideal times to convey the link between absenteeism and student achievement and to build a culture of attendance and engagement.
  1. Develop media and public outreach to take place in September
    Every year, print and broadcast reporters turn up looking for back-to-school stories. Suggest that this year’s pieces focus on school attendance and the efforts by your organization or community to reduce absenteeism.

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