Strategy 2: Consider Needed Supports
Once you know which students are at risk due to poor attendance, take stock of what you know about their situations. Use this worksheet on Understanding the Causes of Student Absences to organize your thoughts and what you have learned from regular interactions and teaching the student. You do not need to interview the student or the student’s family—just go through the questions and summarize what you know about the student. The five minutes you spend can help you think ahead about what you know or might need to learn in order to understand what affects a student’s motivation and ability to get to school. It can also help you consider which supports you might want to have available.
If you are working with a large number of chronically absent students, consider first applying this strategy to a manageable number. Then, you can use the experience to determine how to help more students.
As you engage in this analysis, consider seeking help from one or more members of your school community. If your school has an attendance team in place, ask if they will consult with you. If you know that a child has worked well with another school staff person, ask for insights. As long as the adult is a district employee, you can discuss and share what is happening with a particular student. If the person is not, find out first if they have permission to see school data for that student. Otherwise, you will need to get permission from the family. Check with your site administrators or community school coordinator (if applicable) if you have any questions about how to appropriately consult with community partners.
Why are so many students missing so much school?