August 11, 2022

4 Things to Consider When Choosing an Attendance Intervention

Back to school season is upon us once again, and educators nationwide are preparing for another critical year of learning and connection. But ensuring that students show up to benefit from the learning opportunities planned specially for them is crucial. That’s why creating an attendance improvement plan is essential, which often includes attendance interventions delivered by a trusted partner. There are quite a few attendance interventions to choose from, so before you make a big budget decision, we recommend considering four important facets. 

1: Is the intervention evidence-based?

Good marketing, media buzz, or the dazzle of a sleek EdTech solution, can be great things—if they are grounded in a strong evidence basis. Just as you’ve been turning a keen eye towards your curriculum and assessments to ensure that students are receiving supports that are proven to work, it’s equally important to look closer at the evidence base of an attendance intervention. Consider: Has what I’m implementing been tested like an academic solution? Has it been tested with the rigor of a randomized controlled trial and does it meet ESSA’s criteria for strong evidence? Or is it based on loosely related attendance research that supports its claims? If you’re looking for real results, a closer look at real research and evidence is a must.

2: How does the intervention support teachers?

Teachers are one of the most important and trusted people in a student’s and family’s lives, and every student’s relationship with their teachers is influential on attendance. That’s why teachers’ time is best spent on nurturing relationships. However, it is often squandered on hours of administrative work that attendance improvement can require. Look for an attendance intervention that lightens the load of your team. Does it send personalized messages on your behalf? Does it help handle family inquiries? In a time where there are fewer teachers and they are busier than ever, every ounce of support counts. 

3: Does the intervention engage families?

These are challenging times for educators and families alike. But, families still have more agency over attendance than anyone in a student’s life. It’s important to remember that punitive approaches are not beneficial to encouraging attendance. Instead, focusing on family-school partnerships and access to resources is much more impactful. Whether it’s access to healthcare, food, or transportation, there are a multitude of challenges that can  be the root cause of a student’s chronic absenteeism.  A good attendance intervention will address these root causes by honoring families as partners in their child’s learning, with informative and supportive messaging to help them understand their students’ attendance, and provide access to resources that can help get them to school more often. 

4: Can the intervention be implemented with fidelity across your entire district?

Every student is unique, and so is every school. Even within the same district, school resources and school culture can widely vary. That’s why districts should consider how the intervention supports student and school success system wide. Think about how the intervention addresses the need to provide a centralized support for attendance that doesn’t require additional professional learning or work to implement across school sites. With an attendance solution that provides consistent support across your district, you can help drive more equitable outcomes across the district. 

As you plan for the new school year, take a look at our proven effective attendance solutions and feel free to leverage free resources from leading thought leaders in the education and attendance space. 

Getting students on track starts with attendance. We can help.