Build Trust with Families Through Attendance Letters
Every school in Ohio sends letters home to families every year. One such letter received by families lets a family know their child has “excessive absences,” which means the child was absent without a medical excuse for 38 hours in a month or 65 hours in a school year. School districts must notify a student’s family “within seven days of the triggering absence” in writing. This letter, mandated in Ohio Revised Code Section 3321.191(C)(1), presents an opportunity to schools for setting a foundation for a partnership with families.
Schools can improve their communications to families about attendance to be more effective, student-focused, and collaborative. This can be done by using ordinary terms and language that is accessible to the family. Phone calls, postcards, and other outreach may also be useful and lessen the threat of a letter. The words used in communications can help families understand, feel supported, have a sense of hope and certainty that the school is committed to their child. It is an opportunity to build trust between home and school.
Use the tool at the link below to reflect on how well your current district attendance letters to families contribute to building trust with families.