1 Easy Way to Improve Absenteeism? Send a Weekly Class Update


We all know the impact Covid has had on student attendance — we’ve seen it play out in classrooms, budgets, and NAEP scores.

Beyond the immediate staggering dollar tolls and score drops, there is the untenable future cost to the students themselves — in terms of graduation, self-efficacy, and future employment prospects. Especially those students most impacted by poverty. Teachers turned on a dime to deliver their programs remotely during the heat of the pandemic, using a variety of edtech tools to support those efforts. Now, we have to get real about the pandemic aftermath. There’s no easy fix, but there is a clear path forward.

One simple action is to make sure parents and caregivers stay up-to-date.

Sending a weekly digital update gets essential info to families.

1 in 5 K-12 students lives in a multilingual household, and 13.2% of K-12 students live in poverty. There are many competing priorities in every student’s household. Not every family feels welcome at school or has the flexibility to attend PTA meetings. Not every parent has internalized the school year calendar. Numerous adults rely on their children to inform them of what’s going on, and children are unreliable narrators. A weekly translatable bulletin that specifies when students are due at school & how to know if there’s a closure makes a real difference.

Just because families don’t know doesn’t mean they don’t want to know — let’s make sure they have access.

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To build trust with families, create a weekly cadence for communications

A school newsletter becomes a proxy for a relationship. Not every parent can receive a phone call each week, or an individual text message, but every parent appreciates hearing vital info straight from their child’s teacher. When a teacher’s update arrives in a parent’s inbox on the same day, and at the same time each week, with vital info, it takes the place of a conversation. As the parent/caregiver begins to rely on receiving that information, and becomes more and more familiar with what’s happening in that particular classroom, their relationship to the teacher and their ability to support their child shifts.

And that is the basis of trust. And trust is the foundation of good attendance.

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Weekly communications help parents to support their children in important ways.

If you don’t know what’s going on in your child’s classes, you can’t support your child’s learning in any concrete way. You accept when they tell you they’ve done their homework, or there is no homework. If your child is struggling, you might not realize it until the situation is drastic, and even then you might not know what help is available. Simply sharing weekly info about assignments and school support systems is a win-win. The research is clear: consistent parent communications improve student attendance, behavior, and performance.

One other great thing about a digital update? It’s super efficient. Just duplicate & update each week. Get started here.

February Weekly Class Newsletter


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