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!
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  1. These are great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

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

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  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!