A Principal-Led Team Overseeing Attendance
Improving attendance is not a solo sport. It requires a team that meets regularly (ideally weekly) to coordinate efforts to reduce chronic absence, including the work of success mentors. Each principal and school will need to determine whether this should be a team devoted exclusively to attendance or an existing team that has attendance added to its broader functions and responsibilities.
Teams responsible for improving attendance are successful when they involve the right people and maintain a clear sense of purposes. Principal leadership is especially essential. Principal leadership sends the message that attendance is a top priority and ensures that insights gained about what contributes to poor attendance directly informs the school’s overall approach to improving academic outcomes.
As part of establishing this component of the work, the district might also consider what term is best used to describe it. In some places, it is called the school attendance team. In New York City, the Mayor’s Office called this component “student success meetings” to underscore that the purpose of the effort isn’t about compliance but is about driving student achievement.
Regardless of its title, this team is responsible for organizing the schools’ attendance strategy. Team members have a two-fold responsibility. First, they are charged with looking at individual students who are chronically absent and ensuring their needs are met using all available resources. Second, they monitor what is happening overall for all students and student sub-groups at a school site.
Who Should Serve on the Principal Led Team?
To increase the effectiveness of meetings, identify a lead to facilitate the meetings while another member takes notes.
Here are resources that teams can use to examine how they can improve attendance practice for the school as a whole.