On Chalkbeat Indiana, Dylan Peers McCoy takes a look at how one school district, Indianapolis, is trying to improve attendance and what this means for schools. Some efforts are aimed at boosting attendance for all kids while others are aimed at students who are chronically absent. McCoy reports
When parents come in for conferences with teachers they talk about how important it is for kids to show up. When social worker Kim Winkel hears from parents, she always checks on their children’s attendance and tardiness…
School 83 is also offering a slew of rewards for kids to come to school: There’s a club for students with good attendance, students can earn snacks or the chance to wear jeans and the class with the best attendance each month has a party.
To fight chronic absenteeism the district is creating programs that get kids excited about school, like adult mentors who eat breakfast with students, and offering targeted help based on the problems each student is facing.
On the EdNext podcast, researcher Robert Balfanz spoke with Paul Peterson about the causes of chronic absenteeism nationwide and some promising approaches for fighting it.
Balfanz notes that in some schools, principals are able to recruit mentors from the community and draw on existing staff (including cafeteria workers and security guards) to ensure that every student at risk of chronic absenteeism can build a relationship with an adult who is focused on that student’s attendance.