September 13, 2023

6 Benefits & 4 Risks to Consider as You Choose an Attendance Solution

Partnering with an attendance expert can be a powerful way to bring more students back to class, improve academic achievement, and give precious time back to staff. But not all solutions are created equal. Some bring far more benefits than risks, and others, well… vice versa. Read on to learn the positive impacts that an attendance partner can bring, as well as some potential risks.

Benefits of Bringing a New Attendance Solution to Your District

Maximize instructional time and resources 

When students aren’t in school, the instructional resources that your district has invested in, like well-trained teachers, culturally relevant curriculum, new technology, and tutoring, all go to waste. Teachers may need to repeat lessons or provide individual catch-up sessions, diverting time and attention away from other students. An evidence-based attendance solution that is proven to bring more students in for critical learning opportunities will help you make the most of your existing investments and ensure that more students are on track for accelerated learning. 

Keep families informed & supported

All families want the best for their students. But research has shown that many families underestimate the amount of school missed by a factor of 2. Partnering with a provider who can keep families up to date on their student’s attendance and provide support in overcoming barriers to attendance on your behalf saves you time and helps families get their students back on track for success. 

Remove the administrative burden from school-based staff

We all know teachers have a lot on their plates. Why add to it with attendance outreach that can be easily handled by a solution provider? A universal Tier I solution like EveryDay Intervention targets students who are or are at risk of becoming chronically absent with supportive mail and text nudges, and connects them to resources through the 24/7 Family Support Bot and multilingual Family Support Team. With assurance that fewer students will fall through the cracks, teachers have time to support Tier III students with more intensive interventions 

Timely insights for data-driven interventions & campaigns

Attendance data platforms often provide key attendance analytics at the student, school, and district level to help you better understand attendance challenges, identify barriers to attendance, and allocate resources for effective action. An MTSS attendance platform like EveryDay Pro also flags attendance patterns and trends, helping you get ahead of early challenges before they become more severe and difficult to address.     

Improved Family-School Relationships 

Effectively communicating with families can be time consuming and challenging. While a student’s teacher is one of the most trusted figures in a student’s education, an attendance solution that provides timely information, offers support, and makes connections on behalf of the school and district will supercharge your team’s family engagement efforts. A restorative attendance solution, and even truancy solution, will help engage families as partners in a student’s success, instead of alienating families or putting them on the defensive. 

Capture much-needed funding 

You may work in a state where districts receive attendance-based funding. In those cases, strong attendance is important not just for student success, but for the sustainability of your school and district operations. A solution that provides better attendance can mean more financial support and opportunities to improve and innovate.

Risks and Challenges of a New Attendance Solutions

Costs now…but savings later

It’s true: partnering with an attendance solution provider can cost money. However, if you choose a solution that actually improves attendance, bringing more students into school for critical learning opportunities, you’ll save yourself and your team time and instructional resources throughout the year. If you are in a district that receives ADA funding, you may find that the solution will pay for itself with the recovered funding it can help secure. 

Family calls around “excused” absences

As you build a culture of attendance in your school that emphasizes how much every missed day matters, whether excused or unexcused, some families may be on board, and others may need some support. If the attendance solution you choose informs families of student absences, and counts both excused and unexcused absences, you may get some calls asking why a family is being shown an absence that they excused. While there may be some frustration in the beginning, this is a great opportunity to have a meaningful conversation around why school is a better place when their student is there and why attending every day matters. This mini-poster can also help you share the message to all families about the academic, social, and career implications of poor attendance. 

Information overload 

There are so many shiny new tools built to help you provide data-driven support to the students who need it most. Some data platforms may showcase a wide breadth of student data, including academics, behavior, attendance, and everything in between. Take time to carefully consider what your goals and priorities are and what tools you really need to address them. If you’re trying to address chronic absenteeism, spending a fortune on a dashboard that triangulates a dizzying amount of data points may be too much. Many student details at your fingertips can certainly be alluring, but the reality can be an overwhelming dashboard where practitioners struggle to know where to begin. 

Not so easy to use

Districts have purchased myriad edtech products, but many are rarely used thanks to tedious onboarding, confusing interfaces, and lack of the information they need, when they need it. Or, solutions that require changes in staff practices may also meet some resistance and risk never being used at all. For example, some attendance solutions require teachers to send out attendance communications themselves. A phone call home from a teacher can go a long way, whether it’s during implementation of Tier 1 & Tier 2 interventions, or just a friendly call home. However, given the many demands on teacher time and attention, an attendance solution should never add to teacher workload, and if anything, should make their jobs just a little bit easier. 

Looking for proven effective attendance solutions that reduce chronic absenteeism by 11-15% and supercharge your MTSS? Check out our solution page for more information.

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