Source: Pennsylvania Truancy Toolkit
There are several key factors that comprise a comprehensive strategy to promote student attendance and students’ connection to school. Those factors include ensuring a safe school climate, encouraging and supporting parental involvement, providing a continuum of supports and services to both students and their families as appropriate, collaborating with the community (including both public and private entities working with youth and families), school level administrative support and ongoing program evaluation to verify that your strategies are reducing truancy within your student population. Following are 10 specific suggestions to make this comprehensive strategy possible within your school.
- Make students and parents/guardians feel welcome. Make a point to say “hello” to every parent/guardian or student you see in the halls and outside- make it your business to know his or her names.
- Create an environment that enables students to feel successful in something-no matter how small it may seem. Award academic and attendance “letters,” as you do for athletics.
- When a student is absent, immediately talk to the parent/guardian – not their answering machine. Make a personal phone call in the evening or call parents/guardians at work during the day.
- When a student is absent, immediately talk with them about why they were gone-let them know you are aware…and that you care that they are at school.
- Forge a relationship with local businesses where youth may congregate when truant-encourage them to keep students in school during school hours. Create a poster that states “We support youth in school and will not serve anyone under 16 during school hours.”
- Forge a relationship with local law enforcement-make them your allies in showing the community, families, and students that school is the place to be. Empower community police officers to return youth to school.
- Don’t provide the temptation for youth to be truant. Close your campuses during breaks and lunch.
- Empower and expect classroom teachers to take action when they think a student may be truant. Ask teachers to make calls to absent youth or families in the afternoon or evenings.
- Reward and recognize good attendance-not just perfect attendance. Post large signs giving the daily attendance for the day. Reward individuals, classes and the school for increased attendance.
- Make your school a place where students feel safe and respected. Adopt a character education program that is planned and implemented by students.