Schools fighting a surge in chronically absent students should focus on strengthening the bonds they have with parents, according to recent research. Schools that had the strongest ties with families before the recent rise in chronic absenteeism are less likely to be experiencing those high absence levels today, according to Education Week.
These are some of the findings of an analysis conducted by the organizations Learning Heroes and TNTP, in partnership with scholars Karen Mapp and Todd Rogers from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and Kennedy School of Government, respectively.
Researchers found that schools that had high levels of family engagement before pandemic shutdowns have seen significantly lower rates of chronic absenteeism.
Schools with stronger, preexisting family engagement—measured in surveys that assessed trust between parents and teachers, parent involvement in schools, and parents’ influence over schools’ decision-making—had chronic absenteeism rates after remote learning about 6 percentage points lower than similar schools with weaker family engagement.
A robust base of research shows that parents’ involvement with their children’s education—through participation in parent-teacher conferences, attendance at school-sponsored events, and at-home discussions about what their children are learning can make a major difference in student outcomes.
As schools work to cut down on student absences, Connecticut schools have used home visits in an effort to better understand why students stay home from school, rather than take a more punitive approach.