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How-To: Manage Your Classroom
How to Home
How To: Manage Your Classroom
NYC Helpline: Manage Your Classroom

Encouraging and Foster Good Attendance Nancy Powell

It's tough to help students learn when they don't attend school. They not only hurt themselves, but they can also affect the motivation of their classmates and impair the achievement of the school as a whole.  Poor attendance is often the symptom of another problem - family or school. So don't ignore class absences.

I have older students fill out an information card. For younger students, write each student's name on an index card. Document all absences on their cards with date, day of the week, reason for absence, and any action that you or someone in the school took as a result of the absence. Your documentation might be just what is needed to turn a bad situation around.

Here are some things to consider when working on attendance problems.

  1. Become very familiar with the attendance guidelines and policies of your school and district.
    1. Who needs to be contacted, how soon, and how often?
    2. What is an unexcused absence, an excused absence, and are there other categories of absences?
    3. Do parents have to phone in absences and are notes required upon a student's arrival back to school after an absence?

  2. Start the year by telling students and parents that you expect students at school on a daily basis and that you want them  to enjoy success as a result of their good attendance. Write a letter home to parents during the first week of school that states your willingness to work with them as a team and that attendance is your number one priority. (Just think of all of the makeup work that you won't have to grade!)
  3. Call home the first time a student is absent to let him/her know that he/she was missed and to let the parents know that you noticed that their child was absent.
  4. If you seem to see more than an occasional absence by a student, talk to the student, call home, look at past year's attendance records for attendance patterns, and determine if further action should be taken by you, your school counselor or an administrator.
  5. Schedule a parent, student, teacher, administrator meeting to see if there are things that can be done to improve attendance.

Always seek the advice of the teachers and administrators in your building. Always let students know that they are missed when they are absent. This tells them that you really want them in your class on a regular basis. It fosters a positive and productive climate in your classroom.

 

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