Engage Students and Parents
Attendance improves when a school community offers a warm and welcoming environment that engages students and families and offers enriching learning opportunities. A key component of the engagement is helping families learn about the positive impact of good attendance and the negative effects of chronic absenteeism on realizing their hopes and dreams for their children. Parents may not realize that even excused absences can, if they accumulate, cause their children to fall behind and that building the habit of attendance in the early grades can influence their children’s chances of graduating from high school.
PARENT ENGAGEMENT TOOLKIT
- Created with the help of practitioners who have worked successfully with families to improve attendance, this toolkit is filled with ideas, activities and materials that you can use to spark conversations with parents. Download the full toolkit here.
- Info Graphic on Attendance in the Early Grades
- Info Graphic on Attendance in the Early Grades (Spanish)
These handouts can be downloaded for free and used in schools and community settings.
Tips for parents of children in the early grades:
- Elementary school handout
- Elementary school handout in Spanish
- Elementary school handout in Chinese
- Elementary school handout (with policy tips)
- Elementary school handout in Spanish (with policy tips)
- Pledge Cards for Parents
- Pledge Card for Parents (Spanish)
Tips for parents with children in middle and high school students.
- Middle/high school flyer (1 page)
- Middle/high school flyer in Spanish (1 page)
- Middle/high school flyer (2 pages with policy tips)
- Middle/high school flyer in Spanish (2 pages with policy tips)
Tools for Teachers and Principals
- Talking Points for Interacting with Families
- Tips for Outreach Before the First Day of School
- Tips on One-on-One Meetings
- Sample Back-to-School Letters
- Script for Back-to-School Robocalls
- Tips for contacting hard-to-reach parents
- Sample student survey
The new school year means back-to-school night for parents and assemblies for students. These are ideal times to convey the link between attendance and student achievement and to build a culture of attendance.
Parent Summits or Back-to-School Events
- Tips for school meetings
- Get Schooled Attendance Counts Calculator
- Talking points for principals for parents of secondary school kids
- Talking points for principals for parents of elementary school kids
- Interactive parent exercises
Student Back-to-School Assemblies
For students, use an assembly at the start of September to introduce the topic. Also use this opportunity to explain to students why attending school is so important. If possible, have some students speak about why going to school matters.
- Talking points for principals and teachers addressing students
- Examples of student messaging
- Tips for Developing Incentives
Promote good attendance in a display in the lobby of city hall, the school district’s central office, the main library or other public spaces. Retail shops and restaurants can put posters in their windows or on bulletin boards. If there is a student poster contest, decorate public spaces with the posters. Our Attendance Awareness Month Badge can be used in e-mail signatures and on websites.
- Attendance Works Info Graphic
- Attendance Month Banners & Posters
- Attendance Month Badges in English and Spanish