3 unexpected ways to leverage attendance data

Gary FalconSchool Management

When it comes to school attendance, it is relatively easy to see that students who come to class more consistently are likely to perform better – students with a high rate of absenteeism miss valuable instruction time, instructions for assignments, and the opportunity to ask questions and get help.

One charter school, New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science II, decided to closely examine their student attendance to try to improve graduation and retention rates for its students. They found that by addressing a few areas, they were able to develop a school attendance tracking plan that would help them better serve their students.

Among the areas AMS II focused on were:

  1. Consistent reporting by teachers – The most crucial part of tracking and studying student attendance rates is having consistent and complete reporting. Each teacher needed to be on board and needed to submit their attendance correctly at the proper time, so data could be collected and interventions could be prepared.
  2. Communication among school employees – Especially at schools where students have multiple teachers, as in the case of AMS II, school employees need to be able to communicate and share information with one another. In many instances, a centralized attendance office and/or particular administrator handles looking at overall student absenteeism, and getting them specific information in a timely manner is critical.
  3. Communication with parents – Various interventions are appropriate when students have attendance issues, but the majority of them involve parent communication. When it comes to truancy, parents often are unaware their children haven’t attended class. It can sometimes be difficult for a school to reach out individually to the families of all absent students, but keeping parents informed and working together to ensure students are in class is one of the best ways to decrease absenteeism.

Implementing changes in these areas can be a logistical challenge without the help of school management software to streamline processes and help gather attendance data – collecting and tracking absences by hand is time consuming for teachers and staff alike, and ultimately makes it more difficult to reach out to parents in a timely manner.

For schools looking for a better way to track attendance rates, a great place to start is to download your checklist to determine which school management software works best to meet your school’s unique needs.