Bridging the Gap: How Effective Tardy Management Can Combat Chronic Absenteeism

Bridging the Gap: How Effective Tardy Management Can Combat Chronic Absenteeism

On January 17, 2024, the Biden-Harris administration announced a new agenda to improve student achievement, spotlighting chronic absenteeism, a challenge exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial meeting identified chronic absenteeism as critical, with strategies discussed to address it. According to the Council of Economic Advisers, absenteeism significantly contributes to post-pandemic declines in math and reading test scores, with chronically absent students less likely to read at grade level or graduate high school.

A follow-up summit on May 15, 2024, introduced new actions and resources, including $250 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education, effective communication strategies, and data-driven interventions to boost both attendance and engagement. The summit emphasized the importance of tools such as home visits, family support connections, and using data to identify at-risk students. Additionally, the focus on making school more relevant and meeting students’ basic needs, such as healthcare, housing, and childcare, was highlighted.

However, the issue of tardiness, a precursor to absenteeism, was again overlooked. At Minga, we frequently hear about the challenges schools face with tardiness due to insufficient resources and ineffective processes. This can escalate into chronic absenteeism when students feel a lack of belonging and support. Schools have noted that if tardiness is not tackled correctly, it can spiral into more severe consequences. Addressing tardiness promptly and effectively is crucial to preventing its progression to chronic absenteeism.


The Current State of Student Absenteeism in 2024

Tardiness is Directly Linked to Absenteeism

Before we can consider strategies to address chronic absenteeism, it’s essential to think about why students are constantly absent. Understanding the root causes gives educators a better picture of how they can effectively intervene with tactics that will actually work. Time and time again, studies reveal that tardiness is directly linked to absenteeism. In fact, students who eventually drop out of school demonstrate higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness before their permanent departure. Kids are often late or absent for many reasons including not having reliable transport, family issues, and lack of engagement with the school environment. A critical first step to addressing absenteeism is to first get students to class on time. The latest research also suggests that the following actions are a great place to start:

  • The adoption of early warning intervention systems, such as text messages to parents
  • The effective use of digital tools and data to determine patterns in tardiness, that will often lead to absenteeism
  • Simple check-ins and conversations with chronically tardy kids, to understand what their barriers are
  • Home visits and family engagement to identify why a student is absent and what tailored strategy will address the cause — this can significantly increase student attendance

Traditional Methods for Managing Tardiness are Limited

In many K-12 schools, teachers often record who’s late or absent by calling out names, writing them down by hand, or entering student names into a Google Sheet. These manual methods take up a lot of educators’ time and can be incredibly error-prone. These data inaccuracies cause a ripple effect: mistakes with attendance records lead to a bunch of problems: students might get in trouble unfairly, parents could get the wrong messages, and the school’s attendance numbers might not be trustworthy. This can make it tough for administrators to see clear patterns of attendance that can be fixed with early interventions.

Creating a Culture of Attendance: Targeting Absenteeism Directly With Digital Tools

A centralized tardy management system such as Minga could be the solution that your school needs to effectively manage lateness and boost attendance. This software integrates with your existing SIS and transforms the chore of attendance tracking into a hassle-free experience, enabling teachers to reclaim precious classroom time and increase data accuracy.

Digital tools allow school administrators to take a proactive approach to managing attendance. Not only can you more effectively manage attendance, but this type of software allows teachers and admins to reward positive behavior as well. For example, if a student arrives on time for every single class, they can be issued points that can be redeemed at the school store. Incentivizing students to attend classes in this way is a proven method to skyrocket punctuality and foster a student culture that values being present and engaged.

Progressive Discipline for Early Intervention

An extra step to boost attendance even further is a progressive discipline framework. This strategic approach often aligns with many schools’ existing tardy policies. By automating the enforcement of these policies, progressive discipline can ensure consistent application of consequences for tardiness. This step-by-step framework, which gradually escalates over time, not only reduces admin burden but also acts as a deterrent for students, who become more aware of the immediate consequences of their actions.

The Underlying Impact of Tardiness White Paper

Sending Texts to Parents is a Proven Method of Reducing Absenteeism

A critical component of tackling absenteeism is engaging all stakeholders, especially parents. Finding effective ways to communicate with parents is an important piece of the puzzle. Low-cost informational interventions, like sending texts to parents about their children’s missed school, can reduce absenteeism by up to 17%. This level of communication is vital for creating a collaborative environment where everyone works towards improving student attendance.

Case Study: Edge High School’s Success with FlexTime

A compelling example of innovative attendance management comes from Edge High School, as detailed in our case study. By implementing Minga’s FlexTime module, digital hall pass module, and Behavior & Rewards module, Edge High School, which caters to at-risk youth, saw remarkable improvements in attendance and student engagement. These modules facilitated a 40% increase in make-up class attendance and a 23% decrease in hall pass usage, signaling a positive shift in student time management and classroom participation. This case study underscores the potential of digital solutions in transforming the educational experience, especially for students who might otherwise be disengaged or at risk of falling behind.

Keeping Kids in Class Leads to Increased Student Success

The link between attendance and academic success is undeniable. As we align our efforts with the objectives outlined in the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda, it is clear that managing tardiness effectively is not just a disciplinary measure – it’s a vital educational strategy. Let’s embrace these innovative solutions to ensure our students are in class, engaged, and on the path to success.

Minga offers a campus management platform that can help reduce tardies by 50% in just three months. With Minga, you’ll have all the tools needed to track and record tardies, automate the consequence framework, and notify administrators, staff, students, and families. Click here to book a time with a Minga Solutions Expert to learn more.

Related Posts