Low Cost Attendance Intervention Involving Families

This article from the Harvard Graduate School of Education contains insight from research into low-cost interventions schools can use to work with families as allies to improve student attendance in the early grades.

One study “looked at whether personalized mailings could reduce the absences specifically of young children with poor attendance…More than 6,500 households in California across 10 school districts received these mailings six times in a school year (and an additional 4,400 households in a control group received only regular school outreach). Households received the messages if they had a child in kindergarten, or a child in first through fifth grade with less than average attendance the previous year.”

Another study “sent similar mailings in Philadelphia to more than 28,000 households. These mailings, which either reminded parents of the importance of attendance, additionally stated the child’s total absences, or further compared those absences to the child’s classmates’, went out to students in every grade and with any attendance record.”

“In both cities, the mailings were inexpensive — between $4 and $7 per additional day of attendance generated.”

“The mailings were most effective for students with the lowest attendance. The mailings corresponded with a 15 percent reduction in chronic absenteeism, compared with the control group.”

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