March 29, 2023

MTSS Corner: Top Tier Meetings— 5 Steps to Create a System for High Quality Tier III Attendance Conferences

Meeting with students and families to discuss attendance is an important step in supporting attendance improvement, particularly with Tier III students, or students missing more than 20% of school. These conferences are key because they provide an opportunity to build a relationship with the student and their family.  Hosting these meetings also help the families and students understand the importance of attendance and how student absences are impacting their progress. 

When prepping for these conferences, we want to design a system to support the process. Here's how to get started.

1. Identify Students who Require Tier III Support 

  • Do you have a process or tool for flagging students who need support? 
  • Who on the attendance team is responsible for Tier III intervention planning? 
  • Who has the capacity to complete early staff observations and gather data? 

2. Assess Individual Causes and Barriers of Absenteeism 

  • Be sure to check out our Barrier Assessment to always ensure you have the latest information on root causes and barriers to attendance that families are experiencing. This is critical to determine the best and most effective intervention or next step. 

3. Complete Data Analysis, Staff Observations & Interviews

  • One way to ensure that these meetings are top tier is to have all of your ducks in a row. Spend time before the conference assembling attendance data, identifying patterns and trends, gathering anecdotal information from staff, teachers and other adults close to the student to inform a holistic conversation when families are in the room. 

4. Hold Meetings with Families & Design Intervention Plans Together

  • Your meeting will be much more effective with a pre-planned agenda that covers the purpose of the meeting and holds  time for creating an Intervention plan. Check out this resource to help guide your conversation and next steps. 

5. Schedule and conduct follow up sessions 

  • We are much more likely to follow through on our intentions when we commit to follow up sessions right away. Set yourself up for success by getting the next meeting on the calendar before families leave that day.

As numerous Tier III students experience so many barriers to attendance and learning, It can be  challenging to feel like we’re making progress with Tier III students. High quality attendance conferences can be a great way to open up the lines of communication and ensure that staff, students and families are all on the same page and supportively working together. 

Looking for more tips for creating an effective MTSS? Check out this post on ensuring your attendance intervention systems are equitable.

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