Spring Attendance Slump

Daily attendance numbers can move up and down, but 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 prize 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.

Ideas include scheduling a spirit day, week or month with activities such as asking students to create a poster of themselve as a super hero, or to make a collage of what they like to do to relax. Arrange drawings or friendly competitions with prizes. Older students can be trained to lead movement or mindfulness activities, and schools can provide free fruit in classrooms several times a week.

No matter what you decide to do, reflect on how your school community is weathering the pandemic. If families have experienced job loss, illness or death during the past year, organize an activity to address these needs. Consider writing caring letters to be emailed or sent home when students or family members are ill, or organize a friendly food bank donation competition. 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

Attendance Barriers During the Covid-19 Pandemic

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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