Let's Get You To School - Supporting Attendance For Students

"It's time for school" is a phrase that- as a child- made some of us hop out of bed and others hide under the covers. Today, school attendance and "absenteeism" have gained new significance as they are known to cause gaps in students' learning and social-emotional development, and considered a predictor of other concerns like dropping out of school, delinquency, drug use, teenage pregnancy, self-harm and gang-involvement. 

A great deal of data on the effects of absenteeism, and tools for supporting attendance can be found here. As we help "set the conditions for learning" for students across our community, we use engagement strategies to clear the barriers that keep children from attending school regularly. 

EnCompass partners with schools to strategically address school attendance and engagement. High quality programming offering an engaging setting, enrichment, and positive relationships increases students' engagement in our programs and also in school. EnCompass was recently highlighted in Rochester City School District's Attendance Bulletin

At The Norman Howard School, many students previously struggled with anxiety which kept them from attending school. The small, supportive community of Norman Howard helps them feel safe, supported, and understood - conditions which mitigate school-based anxiety. 

In addition to programming, we find parents sometimes need support with what to say when getting to school is a challenge. Download our parent guide for supporting attendance and growing grit and engagement in English and Spanish

Here are things to say to your child when getting them to school is challenging... 

  • Is something happening at school that makes you unhappy or nervous?
  • Let's pick out clothes, pack your backpack, and set your alarm tonight! 
  • What can I do to help you get to school on time? 
  • Your hard work in school is very important to me 
  • I wouldn't send you if I thought you were too sick. Let's get you there. 
  • Going to school in this weather is an adventure - we can talk about it tonight when we're together. 
  • School is your job, and getting you there is mine! Let's work together. 
  • Who are some people who would miss you if you weren't there today? 

Other times, children need support "sticking with it," but grit and engagement are important building blocks for success. Parents can try these tips to boost engagement in school and the ability to "keep going when the going is tough."

  1. Make school attendance a priority
  2. Encourage after-school activities, sports & clubs
  3. Communicate with school about academics, attendance & behavior
  4. Focus on effort, not results - "I see how hard you're working"
  5. Model positive self-talk - say things like "I am strong, I can do this"
  6. Affirm their ability to make an impact - "See how your effort makes a difference?"