Tier 3 – Engaging families when children’s absence is 20 percent or greater
The goal of Tier 3 strategies is to provide intensified support to parents, to address the misconceptions, barriers and negative experiences that impede attendance and help them connect to community social and medical services as needed to reduce chronic absence.
Consider using any of the printed resources in Tiers 1 and 2 to help parents understand the importance of attendance to their child’s school readiness and to address issues that hinder consistent attendance.
When chronic absence reaches 20 percent or more, the risk to children of not achieving school readiness goals is high. These students may miss school for reasons such as changes in their foster care placements and out-of-school appointments due to health or family issues. Preschool teachers and family outreach staff are not expected to address these complex needs on their own. Instead, you can help vulnerable students and their families to tap into resources and supports offered in your community to help them overcome attendance barriers.
Tier 3 strategies start with a discussion between parents or caregivers that leads to an agreed upon plan between parents and staff, with a timetable for actions each will take to reduce chronic absence. My Child’s Success Plan can help document the results of a discussion and capture the commitments both parents and the preschool program have made.
As you identify the major impediments to child’s attendance and make a plan to address them, consider inviting the parents to use the Perfectly Punctual Campaign weekly scorecard at home. Ask the family to send the calendar to school at the end of each week for a salute of recognition as progress is made.
Make use of the weekly scorecard and monthly calendars to set specific goals with families. Consider both short term goals one, two or four week goals that can document progress and inject a sense of success and longer term goals. Be sure to celebrate progress to support momentum.
If your program has created a listing of services relevant to your community, outreach, social services or health staff may be able to help by facilitating important appointments for children and families. Strengthening relationships with the service providers you are most likely to need may help you get your families served in a timely manner.