December 12, 2022

MTSS Corner: Get ready to step back, reflect on your attendance systems, and make some plans for the semester ahead!

What exciting progress have you seen in your attendance data so far this year? What challenges still exist? What is the overall health of your attendance team and the intervention program you are implementing? While asking these questions is a critical step in making strategic improvements to your attendance supports, educators are often so busy with the day-to-day implementation of attendance interventions (and the million other things on their to-do list!) that they don’t have the space and time to step back and reflect on bigger picture progress and ongoing areas of need.

In order to protect some time for this type of deeper reflection, we suggest scheduling a quarterly reflection meeting with your Attendance, PBIS, or MTSS team (or whichever team drives your attendance initiatives). Unlike the more frequent attendance team meetings which focus on the important work of designing and implementing tiered interventions, the quarterly meeting is a time to analyze your overall attendance data as well as evaluate your attendance intervention program to decide on the bigger picture adjustments that are needed.

As you prepare for your quarterly attendance team meeting, we suggest including the following key elements in your agenda:

  1. Use your SIS or an attendance analytics platform such as EveryDay Pro to review your high-level attendance metrics including:
  • Average Daily Attendance (ADA) by month and overall
  • Chronic Absence Rate by month and overall
  • Attendance data by subgroup/demographic
  • Percentage of students in each attendance tier

  1. Ask questions to go deeper:

What is your team proud of, when looking at your attendance data? What areas of growth are still evident? When reviewing data by cohort or demographic group, what patterns of inequity exist? If you’re having trouble seeing and analyzing this data, consider using a tool such as EveryDay Pro to make this data more easily accessible.

  1. Evaluate your attendance systems by using a normed assessment tool.

Ask your team to use the Attendance Systems and Supports Rubric, or another similar tool to reflect on what’s working and what needs improvement in your attendance program. Ideally, team members can do this as pre-work, so that you can maximize your meeting time to discuss reflections and agree on areas of growth.

  1. Create an implementation plan based on the areas of growth your team identifies.

It’s helpful to protect at least half of the meeting time to create an implementation plan based on 1-3 priorities that the team identifies in the first part of the meeting. The implementation plan should include specific tasks that will drive improvement towards the priority area, and don’t forget to identify who will take on those tasks as well as deadlines for completion.

  1. Set follow-up checkpoints. 

You can support team members in following through with the implementation plan by setting a specific date/time for a follow-up check-in. We know from behavioral science research that this type of accountability significantly increases the likelihood that tasks will be accomplished. So before you close out the conversation, pull up your calendars and schedule that follow-up meeting!

Last, but not least, while a ton of important thinking and work happens during these quarterly meetings, we hope that you’ll find ways to make them joyful for your team as well. Don’t forget to celebrate the wins you’ve had so far, and acknowledge the important contributions your team has made to that success. After all, even if it seems like a long road ahead, you all are engaging in the challenging and important work of providing students with the support they need to attend school every day possible, and you deserve to see and acknowledge the impact of your hard work!

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