Ask yourself these three things before sending your own attendance letters home.
It’s no secret that chronic absenteeism has been a challenge for districts across the country, and educators are working overtime to bring more students back into the classroom. From attendance campaigns to fun events and everything in between, there’s no shortage of initiatives to try and expand upon. Sending mailed attendance nudges home to families has been shown to reduce chronic absenteeism, however not all interventions are created equal. In fact, if not done the right way, mailing your own attendance letters home to families may even do more harm than good. If you’re considering sending your own letters to families of students who are chronically absent, or are already engaging in this practice, ask yourself these three critical questions before moving forward.
Are they personalized enough?
Sure, it may seem sufficient to address a letter to a family member and include the student’s name. But personalization that truly resonates with families cannot end there. Even if you’re including a little bit of attendance information, those numbers may not sink in without a comparison to other students’ attendance to provide more context. In fact, the behavioral science concept of “social proof” builds on the fact that giving someone a point of reference helps them make a decision and take action. Without providing clear context for attendance expectations, your attendance letters will not be as effective nor motivating.
Are they sending your intended message?
Busy families juggling the demands of our crazy modern world not only don’t have much time to read every communication they receive, but also have varying literacy levels. Are your letters concise, considerate of their time, and clearly conveying the important message that every missed learning opportunity matters?
Additionally, students and families may be experiencing multiple barriers to attendance that contribute to chronic absenteeism. Are your letters clearly connecting them to the right points of contact and resources you may already have in place to support health, wellness, and much more?
Do you really have time for this?
Whether you’re sending attendance letters home to encourage positive attendance habits or state mandated truancy letters, that’s a whole lot of customization and paper to wade through. Even with an AI assistant, it can take a while to personalize, print, and mail what ultimately amounts to thousands upon thousands of communications. Is that really how you want to spend your precious time, or that of your team’s? And even if you are the workhorse that your school can’t live without, it’s not likely that all schools in your district have someone like you or a team like yours that can implement this effectively.
There’s a better solution, one that gives you time back to nurture family and student relationships and implement your own strategic initiatives. EveryDay Intervention sends personalized and supportive mail and text nudges on your district’s behalf that connect families to district resources and helps them overcome barriers to resources. Leveraging the power of behavioral science, data science, and family engagement strategies, it is proven to reduce chronic absenteeism by 11-15%.