Outreach from school staff to families and caregivers about their student's attendance patterns can help reduce absenteeism.3 According to a recent study funded by The National Center of Education Evaluation, parent messaging lowered the absentee rate by seven percentage points for students with a history of chronic absence.4
What personalized messaging strategies can educators use to increase student attendance? The National Center for Rural Education Research Networks released a how-to guide, Improve Attendance with Personalized Messages, which outlines four key components of effective messages to families:
Caregivers are often unaware of the number of days their student has missed. By providing real-time, personalized information, educators can increase caregivers' awareness. These easy-lift actions can also build stronger relationships between educators and caregivers, enabling them to address barriers to attendance and engagement together.
The how-to guide includes messaging templates that educators can customize to fit their needs (pages 7-8). It also offers advice for implementing a district-wide program. The resources below can also help kick-start these efforts.
By incorporating the evidence-based strategy of personalized messaging to families and caregivers into common practice, educators can help increase student attendance. Increased student attendance can help students build their academic skillset and feel a greater sense of belonging at school.5
1 U.S. Department of Education. (2016). Chronic Absenteeism in the Nation's Schools: An unprecedented look at a hidden educational crisis. https://www2.ed.gov/datastory/chronicabsenteeism.html#intro; Gottfried, M. A. (2015). Chronic absenteeism in the classroom context: Effects on achievement. Urban Education, 54(1), 3-34.
2 Gottfried, M. A. (2014). Chronic absenteeism and its effects on students' academic and socioemotional outcomes. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 19(2), 53-75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10824669.2014.962696;
Allensworth, E. M., & Easton, J. Q. (2007). What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public High Schools: A Close Look at Course Grades, Failures, and Attendance in the Freshman Year. Research Report. Consortium on Chicago School Research.
3 Bergman, P., & Chan, E. (2017). Leveraging technology to engage parents at scale: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Center for Economic Studies and ifo Institute (CESifo), Munich.
4 Heppen, J.B., Kurki, A., & Brown, S. (2020). Can Texting Parents Improve Attendance in Elementary School? A Test of an Adaptive Messaging Strategy (NCEE 2020–006). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee
5 Gottfried, M. A. (2014). Chronic absenteeism and its effects on students' academic and socioemotional outcomes. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 19(2), 53-75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10824669.2014.962696.