tackle chronic absenteeism

7 Ways to Tackle Chronic Absenteeism

Elementary school attendance isn’t just about showing up. Attendance is about engagement, continuity, and setting the stage for future academic success. Chronic absenteeism is a big challenge for elementary schools across the U.S. Addressing attendance issues requires a multifaceted approach. This means collaboration among educators, families, and communities. This will result in a more positive school environment. We have seven ways to help tackle chronic absenteeism in your elementary school.   

1. Understand the Root Cause 

Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10% or more of school days.* It’s crucial to identify the underlying reason(s) why students are missing school. A number of factors can contribute to absenteeism.

  • Health issues
  • Transportation barriers
  • Family dynamics
  • Socioeconomic challenges

Addressing any of these factors can be difficult. Start by focusing on one factor. Your school may be able to formulate a plan to help those students and their families.

chronic absenteeism positive environment

2. Create a Positive School Climate 

Encourage and promote regular attendance by building a supportive school environment. Students and their families all want to feel like they belong to your school and community. It’s important to setup initiatives like mentorship programs, peer support groups, and to reinforce positive behavior (awards!). When students feel valued and engaged, they are more likely to attend school regularly.

3. Build Strong Relationships

One of the best ways to address chronic absenteeism is to establish strong relationships between school educators, students, and families. This helps build trust and rapport. That trust will help to address any attendance challenges.

  • Communicate regularly.
  • Accommodate language barriers
  • Involve parents in classroom activities
  • Share student success

All of these will help schools to identify early warning signs of absenteeism. Once this is determined you can be proactive about addressing it.

absenteeism collaboration

4. Implement Early Intervention Strategies 

Early intervention is critical for many issues, including chronic absenteeism. Use an attendance monitoring system to track student attendance patterns in your school.

  • This can help identify students who are at risk
  • You can intervene early
  • Provide targeted support
  • Helps student stay on track academically

5. Provide Wraparound Support Services

Sometimes there are underlying factors that contribute to absenteeism that go beyond the classroom. This may require a more holistic approach. Work with various organizations, healthcare providers, and social services agencies to develop a wealth of resources.

  • Healthcare
  • Counseling
  • Transportation assistance
  • Basic needs
absenteeism parent teacher

6. Promote Parent and Family Engagement

Plan and organize workshops, parent-teacher conferences, and family events at your elementary school. All of these examples will help educate parents about the importance of regular attendance.

When you engage parents and families in these ways, you empower them to play an active role in their child’s education. It will strengthen the home/school connection and reinforce the value of attendance.

7. Celebrate Attendance Achievements 

Recognize and celebrate attendance achievements with a variety of recognition awards for students. Implement attendance incentives, such as rewards programs, attendance challenges, and attendance certificates for students who consistently show up. Hand out recognition awards every week, month, or semester. Create a positive culture that values and celebrates attendance to help motivate your students.

Celebrate attendance goals with
Attendance Medallions!

Addressing chronic absenteeism in elementary schools doesn’t have a “one size fits all” solution. Use the above ideas to create a proactive approach specific to your school for attendance issues.

*According to https://www.attendanceworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Chronic-Absenteeism_web-2.pdf