Did you know there are ways to help decrease student absences? Student attendance is directly correlated to student success, so it is so important for students to be at school! Making our classroom a place where students feel safe, treasured, and want to be is key. Throughout my years of teaching, I received many messages from a parent who said, “Sarah is sick with the stomach bug, but she begged me to let her still come to school. She cried when I told her she had to stay home.”
I wanted my classroom to be where all of my students wanted to be because every person in the classroom is very important! I wanted my classroom to feel like their home away from home because students spend more time with teachers during a school day than with their families.
5 Ways to Decrease Student Absences
While every child and family situation is different, here are four tips you can easily implement to help decrease student absences.
#1: Contact the family when their child is absent
When a child was absent, I always tried to send an email, text, or even make a quick call to let the family know how much we missed and cared about their child. I’ll say something like, “We are so sad that Ryan isn’t here today. I hope he is doing ok! Please tell him we miss him and that the class says hi! We can’t wait for him to come back to school.”
So many families responded so positively to this. Who doesn’t like knowing that they are missed? You can also send a handwritten note with a sibling if the child has a brother or sister at school. Parent communication is important whether a child is sick or not! But this is a great way to show them you care for their student.
Words are powerful, and the little things we do, like a quick text, often can feel like big things to the person receiving it.
#2: Make a big deal when everyone is there
I loved it when my whole class was present, and I let them know it! During attendance, I’ll say something like, “Yay! Everyone is here today!” or during our morning meeting, I’d say something like, “I’m so excited that all of our friends are here today! We are going to have the best day ever learning together!” The kids mirror this excitement and cheered right along with me with big smiles on their faces. Classroom community is so important!
#3: Acknowledge when a friend is absent
When a friend was absent, I’d say to my kids, “I’m so bummed that Alex is not here today! Hopefully, he’ll be here tomorrow!” What I loved was that by modeling this, kids began doing this on their own without my prompting. I’d hear them talking to their tablemates about how they miss a friend who is absent and how sad it is that their friend is missing out on the fun learning we are doing that day. The best part was the excitement they had when their friend returned! Creating a culture of community in the classroom is contagious!
#4: Celebrate when a student returns to school
When a child returns from being absent, even if it’s just a day, or even if the student is late for school, it’s like the prodigal son is coming home! We’d throw a party! Well, we didn’t throw an actual party, but it felt like one. We cheered and celebrated by welcoming the student back with encouraging words and lots of hugs and high-fives all around. I modeled this for my students, and they started doing it without my prompting. There is nothing like the smile on a student’s face when they walk into the classroom and hear their class say, “Yay! Katie is here!! We’ve missed you!”
#5: Positive Notes For Students!
A positive note goes a long way! Having notes on hand makes it so easy to send to students when you need them! A positive note is a great way to show parents that you have noticed their child is not in school and you would love for them to be there. Is it going to completely decrease student absences for all students? No, but it’s a wonderful gesture.
Decrease Student Absences With These Positive Notes!
Although positive notes home probably won’t decrease student absences for all students. It does help show families you are noticing and want their child in school! Save yourself some time and grab these ready-to-go notes that I shared in this post to use when a student is absent and throughout the entire year!
- Click HERE for Positive Notes For Students