Attendance Boosting Tips for Family-Teacher Conferences
Strong family partnerships are essential for vibrant school communities, and Family-Teacher conferences are a great opportunity to establish these meaningful relationships that drive student wellbeing and success. However, just like academic success, attendance is key, and ensuring that families can attend and participate in their child’s conference is a crucial step.
Families want their children to excel in school, but as we know, various reasons and circumstances can prevent families from attending school functions, and these competing priorities can keep them from coming into school for a conference.
Families who do not attend school functions do not care less about their children than those who do. Removing barriers and making it as easy as possible for families to engage in meaningful conversations with their student’s teachers and participate in family-teacher conferences is an important step in building strong relationships.
- Location: Is our school close to where our families live? Should we consider an alternate location (a community center or other centralized site that’s more convenient for our parents)?
- Attendance Options: Are parents required to attend in-person? Can they participate by phone or virtually over a device?
- Competing Priorities: Are there other school functions within the feeder pattern that will force parents to choose one function over another if they have multiple children?
- Time Optionality: Are parents assigned a time to come versus having options to select from? Are both afternoon and evening options available?
Family-Teacher conferences are not only a good time to discuss academic progress, but also a great opportunity to reaffirm daily attendance. Review attendance expectations and emphasize how much every day counts for student growth. Whether excused or unexcused, anytime a student misses a day of school, arrives late, or leaves early, results in loss of instructional time. For students with behavioral challenges, it's worth mentioning that behavior incidents resulting in any type of suspension can also be a blocker for learning.
Before meeting with the family, be sure to review the student’s attendance information and behavior records in addition to their academic progress. If you have EveryDay Pro or student level attendance reporting within your SIS, take a moment to review the following metrics for each student:
- Barrier Assessments
- Current Attendance Status
- History of Chronic Absence
- Absence Trends
If loss of instructional time is a concern, be sure to speak with the family about it, relay how it negatively impacts academic performance, and partner with them to determine how you can work together to address the concern.
Whether done virtually, at a different location, or at a time that works best for the family, finding a moment for authentic connection and partnership will pay off throughout the school year. For more family engagement strategies, check out these five resources for supercharging family engagement and these tips for teachers.