July 11, 2023

Three Powerful Ways to Amplify Student Voice & Enhance Attendance

Perhaps prolonged chronic absenteeism has left you wondering, what is it going to take to get students back to class. Why not ask them? 

Empowering students to take an active role in their education can have a significant impact on their overall success and well-being. By harnessing the power of student voice, educators can create a school environment that fosters regular attendance and a vibrant learning community where students want to be every day. Where to begin? Start with these three strategies. 

1. Student-Led Attendance Initiatives

By involving students in the planning, implementation, and evaluation processes of your attendance initiatives, they become more invested in their success. A couple ways to begin include:

  • Attendance Committees: Establish student-led attendance committees with representatives from different grades. A space for student creativity and innovation to really shine, these committees can brainstorm ideas, organize events, and share with their peers what they love most about being present. 
  • Attendance Ambassadors: Select motivated students to serve as attendance ambassadors or mentors. Invite them to develop strategies with their own unique spin, such as organizing attendance challenges, creating motivational campaigns, or facilitating peer-to-peer mentoring sessions.

2. Surveys and Feedback Loops

By actively seeking input from students, educators can identify the underlying factors that contribute to attendance challenges and develop targeted solutions. Here's how to leverage this approach:

  • Anonymous Surveys: Invite honest feedback and gain insights into the reasons behind absenteeism or lateness. Ask students about any challenges they face in attending school regularly and gather suggestions for improvement. Then, identify common themes and develop targeted interventions accordingly.
  • Student-Teacher Conferences: Encourage teachers to have regular one-on-one conferences with their students to discuss attendance concerns. By providing a safe and supportive environment, educators can gain a deeper understanding of the individual circumstances that may contribute to attendance issues. Engage students in collaborative problem-solving and develop action plans together to address any barriers they may be facing.

3. Let Student Voice Nurture a Positive School Climate

Creating a school climate where students want to be every day is essential for regular attendance. When students feel connected, supported, and valued, they are more likely to attend school consistently. Have you tried: 

  • Community-Building Activities: Partner with your student attendance committees to implement fun team-building exercises, group projects, and extracurricular events. These activities foster a sense of belonging and encourage positive relationships among students, which in turn can lead to improved attendance.
  • Celebrating Attendance Milestones: Recognize and celebrate attendance milestones achieved by individual students or classrooms. Consider implementing a rewards system that acknowledges consistent attendance and attendance improvements, such as certificates, small incentives, or public recognition. By celebrating all attendance achievements, big and small, students remain motivated to maintain their attendance streaks.

Harnessing the power of student voice can be a smart approach to improve school attendance. By involving students in attendance initiatives, seeking their feedback, and cultivating a positive school climate together, students can take ownership of their attendance habits and feel more connected to their learning community. When students have a voice in shaping their educational experiences, they become active participants in their own success, leading to better attendance, improved academic outcomes, and a thriving school environment.

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