April 12, 2023

MTSS Corner: Creating a Plan to Support Attendance in the Final Weeks of School

Who can believe we’re fast approaching the end of the 22-23 school year? Perhaps you’ve already implemented some strategies to beat the spring slide and you’re seeing more students in class for critical instruction and testing. But the end of the school year, or “May/June Slump,” can pose similar attendance challenges. 

When it comes to student absenteeism in the final weeks of the school year, it's important to understand the complex factors that contribute to this phenomenon. From academic stress & burnout to family vacations, there are many reasons why students might miss school in the weeks leading up to summer break.

To reduce student absences during this critical period, schools need a comprehensive plan that addresses the root causes of absenteeism. This plan should involve a range of stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, and students themselves. Here are 3 strategies to leverage across your MTSS:

1. Building on Your Vibrant Learning Culture

Creating a supportive and engaging learning environment that motivates students to attend school even during the final weeks of the year is critical. Even though it may be tempting to phone it in with a film, the end of the school year calls for incorporating more interactive and hands-on activities in the classroom, or creating opportunities for students to showcase their work or engage in peer-to-peer teaching.

2. Effective Family-School Communications

Strong & timely family-school communications are a critical element of reducing student absences. Sending out mail and text reminders to families that emphasize the importance of showing up to school and the academic impact of missed days is a great way to ensure families know why these last two weeks are important. Schools should also share the school calendar and refer to it often as they encourage families to schedule family vacations and other personal activities outside of the school year. Check out the Behavioral Science Toolkit for excellent tips on harnessing the power of behavioral science in your communications.  

3. Celebrate & Have Fun!

No one can deny the joy and excitement that electrifies the air at the end of the school year. Lean into it with celebrations that go beyond prom & graduation and honor the achievements of students who attend regularly in the final weeks of school. This could include recognition in the school newsletter or a special event, like an ice cream social or honorary luncheon with the principal.

Ultimately, reducing student absenteeism requires a comprehensive approach that appreciates the unique needs and circumstances of each student and family. By working collaboratively with all stakeholders, schools can create a dynamic and rigorous learning environment that keeps students motivated and connected to their education and peers, even in the final weeks of the school year.

Looking for more tips on partnering with families for better attendance and student outcomes? Click here for 11 tips for effective home visits

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