Spring Attendance Slump

In the weeks before and after a school’s spring break, drops in attendance are common. The shift to warmer temperatures, thoughts of days with no school, and increases in asthma, allergies or other health problems can make attendance plummet. Several other factors, including impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic or poor conditions for learning, impact attendance and often hit low-income communities harder than better resourced districts.

If you have seen that absences are high in the weeks or days before the spring break, plan something. Consider asking students what kind of activity or incentive will encourage them to think, “I’m not going to miss school that day!” Most activities can be done in person or adapted for remote learning.

No matter what you decide to do, reflect on how your school community is weathering the pandemic. Take into account the energy level of school staff. Many are exhausted and cannot do one more thing. This is a great moment for community partners to pitch in. 

If families have experienced job loss, illness or death during the past year, organize an activity to address these needs. Consider organizing a friendly food bank donation competition, or provide free fruit in classrooms. These activities tell families that the school staff care, and will help build relationships that encourage attendance and participation.

Find the Sprinting through Spring calendar of sample daily spirit activities that can be adapted for any month.

Spring Dip Resources for Schools and Districts
  • Send families a letter (updated for Covid) reminding them that instruction continues before and after the spring break.

  • Download our handout with activities, for in-person or remote instruction, that can encourage students to attend and participate and help build relationships.

  • Work with students and families to create an attendance success plan (updated for Covid).

  • The Edwards-Knox Central School planned a month of spirit activities and drawings to boost attendance during the pandemic. Read our blog post about their Month of Earning and Learning. 

  • Download Sprinting through Spring, a calendar of sample daily spirit activities, that can be adapted for any month. Add or revise the activities to suit your school community and grade levels.

Attendance Barriers During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Learn More about the Spring Dip
  • How does attendance typically change over the course of a school year? This “heartbeat” chart showing daily attendance changes over the course of a school year was created by the Center for New York City Affairs with an interactive tool.

  • Listen to the 2016 Attendance All Year Long webinar or review the PowerPoint for more strategies to address attendance dips when learning is in-person.

  • TASC and ExpandED Schools developed Avoiding the Attendance Slump: Strategies to Maximize Learning Time in June – A Resource Guide, for schools in New York. The guide provides insight into the drop in attendance and strategies to increase learning time and attendance.

Download social media materials to spread the word about the Spring Attendance Dip!

Updated March 2021