Friday, November 2, 2012

Monitoring Student Attendance

Attendance seems to be a topic that comes up every school year and we as counselors always have to think of (creative) ways to decrease student absences, tardies and students leaving school early.  At my school, our Student Support Services Team (SSST) meets each month to discuss student concerns, attendance, who we need to keep an eye on, etc.  This team consists of myself, school psychologist, social worker, nurse, principal and assistant principal.  I actually look forward to our meetings because we always have great info to share and our team works very well together.

This year, our team decided to really put our focus on attendance and let both students and parents know that missing school quickly adds up to hours of lost instructional time in the classroom.  Here's what we're doing this year:

-When students miss 5 or more days of school (unexcused absences) we send home a postcard with the school district's attendance reminder & remind parents to send in a note when their child is absent.  I ordered these postcards from VistaPrint with a blank back.  I typed the attendance policy on a printable mailing label to stick on the back of the postcard.  I made my own labels because you can edit/update it as needed.

Attendance reminder postcard
-When students miss 7 or more days of school and/or have 7 or more tardies from school the school social worker mails a letter to the parents.  This is a common procedure, but this year we added in the number of hours of lost instruction the child is missing based on the number of absences/tardies.  For an example, if the student has missed 9 days of school, we put in the letter that nearly 45 hours of instruction have been lost (5 hrs X 9).  For a sample of the attendance letter click here.

-We decided to "broadcast" the number of tardies and early check-outs from school each day at the front entrance of the school.  I made these signs using Word, printed on brightly colored card stock and laminated.  I used velcro to attach to the wall and sign (easy to put up/take down each day).  Each afternoon, I check the tardy/check-out sign in sheet in the front office and count the number of each.  I use a dry erase marker to write the number for the day.  To print a copy of the signs, click here.  

Displaying the number of tardies/early dismissals  each day.

-I also created a spreadsheet to keep track of attendance numbers for each day for data collection (easier to create charts & graphs using Excel).

Spreadsheet of daily tardies & early dismissals

Create graphs and charts using Excel

 This plan is working well!  The number of tardies has decreased overall (but there's still room for improvement).  At the end of the grading period, we'll recognize students with perfect attendance on our school's tv news show (students LOVE seeing their names on the JYJ news).   I also think that a competition between the grade levels or classes to see who has the best attendance will be a great idea to decrease absences & tardies.  The grade level that wins could have an attenDANCE (get it, a dance) and a prize from PTA.

What ways does your school focus on decreasing student absences & tardies, please share!
Pin It


  1. These are great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this! Thank you for the great ideas.

  3. Hey! I am glad to stop by your site and know more about family counseling. Keep it up! This is a good read. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about family counseling.
    The movement received an important boost in the mid-1950s through the work of anthropologist Gregory Bateson and colleagues – Jay Haley, Donald D. Jackson, John Weakland, William Fry, and later, Virginia Satir, Paul Watzlawick and others – at Palo Alto in the United States, who introduced ideas from cybernetics and general systems theory into social psychology and psychotherapy, focusing in particular on the role of communication (see Bateson Project). This approach eschewed the traditional focus on individual psychology and historical factors – that involve so-called linear causation and content – and emphasized instead feedback and homeostatic mechanisms and “rules” in here-and-now interactions – so-called circular causation and process – that were thought to maintain or exacerbate problems, whatever the original cause(s). This group was also influenced significantly by the work of US psychiatrist, hypnotherapist, and brief therapist, Milton H. Erickson - especially his innovative use of strategies for change, such as paradoxical directives. The members of the Bateson Project (like the founders of a number of other schools of family therapy, including Carl Whitaker, Murray Bowen, and Ivan Böszörményi-Nagy) had a particular interest in the possible psychosocial causes and treatment of schizophrenia, especially in terms of the putative "meaning" and "function" of signs and symptoms within the family system. The research of psychiatrists and psychoanalysts Lyman Wynne and Theodore Lidz on communication deviance and roles (e.g., pseudo-mutuality, pseudo-hostility, schism and skew) in families of schizophrenics also became influential with systems-communications-oriented theorists and therapists. A related theme, applying to dysfunction and psychopathology more generally, was that of the "identified patient" or "presenting problem" as a manifestation of or surrogate for the family's, or even society's, problems.
    The attendance of one or more members of a family provides the extra emotional security that a patient needs to engage in treatment.

    family counseling ma

  4. I LOVE this! I haven't been able to figure out the formulas you've used to create this. Could you post how you created the formula? Thanks so much! I love your blog and visit it often!