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Celebrating Attendance Awareness Month with Teachers & Schools

Catherine is a senior communications professional helping social change organizations tell their story in powerful ways. She has expertise in public health, environmental stewardship, philanthropy and education. Follow her on Twitter @CatBrozena

Teaching Attendance – Part 3 of 4

As September’s Attendance Awareness Month celebration continues, this week we shift our focus to lifting up the important role that teachers and schools play in reducing chronic absenteeism.

Teachers are essential to creating a warm and welcoming school environment that engages students and families and offers rich learning opportunities. When teachers emphasize the importance of attendance early on in the classroom, they are helping to lay the foundation for good attendance habits for years to come, habits that can have a major impact on a child’s long-term life trajectory.

Teachers can act as advocates within their school communities to raise awareness about the positive impact of good attendance and the negative effects of chronic absenteeism. They are often the first line of sight to identify students that may have poor attendance and intervene on the student’s behalf.

Attendance Works – a national and state-level initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving success – provides a Teaching Attendance Toolkit that encourages teachers to work with students and families in a number of ways to strengthen attendance. The toolkit outlines three key strategies that teachers can nurture:

  1. Emphasize attendance from Day One

It’s important that the value of good attendance (and the consequences of poor attendance) are well communicated to parents and families. Engaging them early on in the school year to help them understand why attendance is so critical can allow opportunities for setting goals and routines in place that can support optimal attendance all year long.

  1. Use parent-teacher conferences to talk about attendance

Most teachers hold conferences with parents and families several times a year. These are ideal times to promote attendance and address any challenges or barriers to attendance that a family may be experiencing.

  1. Promote a culture of attendance all year long

It’s vital to repeatedly communicate the importance of attendance throughout the year and show that you’re paying attention. When teachers are monitoring attendance regularly and reflecting their observations to parents and other school officials, it will help to assure that students who skip school don’t fall through the cracks.

There are a number of helpful tools (including some in Spanish) for teachers and schools to make use of on both the Attendance Works website and Attendance Awareness Month website. We encourage you to visit those sites to learn more about how you can be part of the solution.

Read Part 1 –  Tell Them That Attendance Counts

Read Part 2 – Celebrating Attendance Awareness Month with Parents & Families

Read Part 4 – Celebrating Attendance Awareness Month with Health Care Providers

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