School Counselors’ Give Ideas To Boost Attendance

Guidance counselors share there best practices for fostering well being, and keeping student attendance rates up in pubic schools.

By Erika Hanson | Published

To Increase Attendance, Schools Are Incentivizing Students With Prizes, Like A New Car

student attendance

Public schools are rife with issues in a plethora of different ways. One major concern is the growing rate of chronic absenteeism in schools. Data shows that student attendance has been dropping for quite some time, however, experts say that the pandemic exacerbated the issue, as it is now one of the utmost concerns for failing students. Education leaders have been scrambling to come up with ways to combat this, and now school guidance counselors’ are giving their two cents on what they think can help keep kids in school.

On Sunday, July 10th, counselors from across the nation met for the annual American School Counselor Association’s annual conference. During one specific breakout session, the topic of discussion was how counselors can boost school attendance. Individuals from school districts that have been successful in increasing attendance rates and deterring chronic absenteeism shared their best practices. 

Vicki Price, a guidance counselor and the senior director for counseling services at Albuquerque Public Schools said that the district raised attendance by an average of over two weeks for more than 3,000 students over the last three years. Price said that the key is to give these chronically absent students a “reason” to come to school every day. Furthermore, Price shared her three-tier approach to addressing the situation. 

Specifically, Price suggests that school districts use a “tier 1” approach, where staff addresses school attendance on the greater portion of students before they have become chronically absent. This early intervention tactic takes initiative before the students start missing school. Likewise, Price points out that these types of initiatives could take years before showing results. 

Furthermore, addressing student attendance based on the school level can help. Counselors use different approaches for elementary, middle, and high school students. For instance, for the lowest grade level children, reaching out to parents for guidance and support often proves successful in getting children back regularly in school. This is because younger students are more apt to be ordered by their parents on getting up to go to school.

Likewise, many counselors feel that awarding students with good attendance can keep more of them in school on a regular basis. This can be done with award certificates, or even something more enticing like rewarding pizza parties and so on. It may not work at all grade levels, but it could prove successful for elementary and middle schoolers. 

student attendance

High schoolers across the board were reported to be the hardest students to reach out to and support to raise student attendance. However, a counselor’s intervention and a continued avenue for discussion with these students can help. Counselors can urge students to join school clubs and activities and lead them to enroll in extracurricular courses that interest them. Simply giving them a sense of belonging and excitement for what they are doing in school can make a major impact. 

Unfortunately, these solutions are not a one size fits all answer to the growing issues with student attendance. However, given the opportunity, they can make a dent in the situation. Either way, schools need to ramp up efforts in any way they possibly can, as each year, more and more districts around the country are depicting grave statistics on chronic absenteeism.