Strategy 2: Use Effective Messaging
A survey of a diverse mix of low-income families by the Ad Council found that parents do want their children to do well in school. However, most don’t know how many days their student is absent each year, and few understand the connection between strong attendance and achievement. Find the Ad Council results in this summary report of research conducted on how to talk to families, guardians and other adults about absences. Click here to download a list of Dos and Don’ts.
Here are some materials to help you to effectively communicate with families about attendance. Keep the tone positive, non-threatening and supportive, whether you are speaking face-to-face or in writing:
Use events such as kindergarten registration, back to school nights or middle school or high school orientations as opportunities to set expectations about satisfactory attendance. Consider using an interactive exercise like Illustrating the Gap to demonstrate how absences can put a child behind. Share key messages verbally and also provide handouts of the materials above.
Create visual reminders of the importance of attendance in the classroom or hallways using downloadable resources such as: