4 Tips for Beating the Spring Slide
The Spring Slide refers to the loss of academic progress that can occur as students become more distracted as the weather gets warmer and the school year draws to a close. Attendance teams can take several steps to help beat the spring slide and ensure that students continue to attend and engage in learning throughout the school year. Read on to discover four tips to beat the Spring Slide.
1. Create targeted “Spring Slide” campaigns
We’ve all implemented “Back To School” campaigns in August, but the spring is a severely underrated time to launch a campaign to engage families, teachers & students in a renewed attendance focus. Work with your attendance team to identify & share resources with staff and your school community around the importance of showing up to school before and after spring break, and implement creative incentives to increase enthusiasm around showing up to school every day.
2. Hold culminating events + activities like Prom & Graduation at the very end of the year
These celebratory events signal to students that school is coming to a close, and attendance often dips significantly after these big events. The later you can put them in the school calendar, the better.
3. Ensure after school programs go through the end of the year
Not having access to after school care is a significant barrier for families. Oftentimes after school care is contracted through a separate organization. When their calendar doesn’t align with the school calendar, this can mean significantly lower attendance on days when care is not provided. Take steps to ensure that families can access all day care, all the way through the last day of school.
4. Design targeted interventions for students on the cusp of becoming chronically absent (ie: missing between 8-12% of school).
In the early spring months, there is still time to catch students before they end the year being chronically absent (missing 10% or more of school). However, if strong interventions aren’t in place when spring approaches, the spring slide can lead to students falling behind and ending the year chronically absent. If you’re able, take a look at your attendance data to detect any patterns or trends that you can design targeted outreach for. For example, if you learn that a student at risk of becoming chronically absent is frequently missing Mondays, reach out to the family, determine what’s interfering with Monday attendance and tie an incentive to Monday attendance.
It can feel challenging to get ahead of something that may feel “inevitable”, but the more we can do to proactively address worsening absenteeism, the better the outcomes will be for students.