Truancy is a problem that plagues schools across the US. Students who miss a lot of schools are statistically more likely to become involved in more problematic behaviors, like self-harm, suicidal ideation, and illegal activities.
Poor attendance interferes with the learning process, and it often disrupts the entire class.
While truancy was an issue for many school districts before the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 has only exasperated the problem. Fortunately, there are steps school superintendents can take to lower truancy rates and retain at-risk students.
One of the primary reasons students miss school is that they (or their parents when dealing with younger children) feel disengaged.
They may not feel welcome at school or in the classroom. The student may struggle to make friends and navigate social situations.
These students and families often have a negative perception of school and the education system.
If the student has already missed many schools and penalizes truancy with lower grades, they may feel like there’s nothing they can do to “fix” their degrees.
A student is more likely to attend school when they feel welcomed and accepted. It’s essential to create a caring environment that encourages safety, respect, and personal responsibility.
Students that feel connected to their school community are more likely to show up because they feel like someone cares (and will miss them if they don’t make it to school).
Parents are more likely to make sure their children attend school if they understand what their kids do. Keep parents updated on classroom schedules and their child’s curriculum.
Need more guidance on dealing with chronic absenteeism? Check out our downloadable eBook. We take a look at how the three largest school districts reduced their truancy rates.
eBook: How the Nation’s 3 Biggest School Districts Reduce AbsenteeismGet Your FREE copy
Educate Students and Parents
Some parents, especially younger children, may not realize that truancy is a significant problem even at the pre-k and kindergarten levels.
They often don’t understand that the early years of school build their child’s educational foundation.
Or, they might not know that it’s problematic for their child to miss multiple days of school each month.
It’s imperative to objectively inform parents about the value of regular school attendance.
Parents want what’s best for their children. If they know that getting their kids to school will help them develop effective learning habits and acquire a vital education, they’re more likely to see that their children regularly attend school.
Explain to older kids how regularly missing school impacts their ability to achieve their goals. Students who understand the value of regular school attendance are less likely to skip school (and more likely to encourage their parents to get them to school).
Utilize a System or Program for Managing Student Absences
An informational program or system is a valuable tool for tracking student absences, informing parents about their child’s absence, and identifying overall truancy tends.
TrueCare™ offers an Attendance and At-Risk Program to help schools combat truancy. Our program sends a text message to parents when their child is absent.
Your schools can use it to keep track of student absences and find troubling trends. It allows educators to reach out to at-risk students promptly.
Our Attendance and At-Risk program integrates with the school’s existing Student Information System and lowers your school’s administration costs.
Reduce Absenteeism and Keep Your Students Safe
Address Chronic or Widespread Issues That Encourage Truancy
Use the information from your absence management program to look for patterns among chronically truant students.
If underlying factors are contributing to these students’ truancy, it’s essential to address these problems. Common factors contributing to truancy include:
- Transportation issues
- No access to clean clothing or grooming essentials
- Lack of before school or after school childcare
- Limited access to medical care
Intervene as Early as Possible
Don’t wait until students are consistently missing school to act. Instead, contact the parents of students who miss many days at the beginning of the school year.
Research indicates that students who miss two or more days at the start of the school year are more likely to be chronically truant.
Early intervention enables educators to find and remedy the factors contributing to the child’s truancy before it significantly impacts their academics.
Reward Students Who are Trying to Improve Their Attendance
It’s frustrating for students to reduce their truancy, only to feel like no one notices. Encourage schools to set up reward programs for students who are successfully attending school more frequently.
Even simple rewards, like additional recess time, a certificate, or special privileges, will incentivize students to come to school.
Start following these tips today to combat truancy in your school district. Contact us today to set up a demo for our Attendance and At-Risk program.
How many of your students are at risk?
- What should parents and schools do to prevent schools’ absenteeism
- School absenteeism as a risk factor for self-harm and suicidal ideation in children and adolescents
- How Attendance Tracking Helps Fight Chronic Absenteeism
- Predicting Your Kids’ Futures – Why Absenteeism Matters
- How the Nation’s 3 Biggest School Districts Reduce Absenteeism