The term “spring fever” is very real. Daylight hours increase, the weather warms, humans’ energy surges, and classrooms everywhere are hotbeds of restlessness and distraction.
The dip in motivation during this predictable period is exacerbated by other factors, from the onset of allergy season to the stress brought on by standardized testing and end-of-course exams.
Keeping students engaged is challenging enough in a normal springtime. But two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, educators and schools have their hands full balancing competing demands. Chronic absenteeism is a prime example. While it’s important to cultivate a culture of attendance, it’s also important for children to stay home if they have COVID symptoms.
That’s why even districts that are aware of the spring decline and have prepared plans to combat it may need an extra boost this year via creative strategies and new tools.
Tips for Preventing This Year’s Attendance Decline
-Raise awareness among staff. Even if numbers from the past couple of years are wonky due to the pandemic, they will give teachers an idea of what to expect.
-Communicate with families about the negative impacts of chronic absenteeism (missing more than 10% of the school year).
-Check in regularly with parents or guardians whose students are at risk to make sure they aren’t experiencing barriers (like lack of access to healthcare for conditions such as asthma that tend to be worse in the spring) or aversions (such as academic struggles, ineffective discipline, or unwelcoming school climate).
-Ask for a helping hand from the local community. Even small steps add up—like reminding providers to schedule medical appointments outside school hours whenever possible.
-Assess and address students’ social-emotional well-being. In December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory that described young people’s mental health challenges as “unprecedented and uniquely hard to navigate.”
-Make it fun to be in school. Schools often offer extra treats, study sessions, and other amenities around standardized testing season for students feeling anxiety about their performance. Consider ways to expand these and broaden their appeal.
The AllHere Spring Support Pilot Program
Starting next month, districts across the nation will address the seasonal drop in school attendance through the 2022 AllHere Spring Support Pilot Program. It’s an opportunity for districts to try this award-winning approach via free student licenses for up to six months.
Pilot participants benefit from a secure-AI powered chatbot that automates two-way messaging.
This convenient, accessible channel supports communication both at the district level and the individual level, with a combination of outgoing texts that are proven to help students attend and engage in school and incoming texts that close the feedback loop with families.
The chatbot messaging is designed to align with the two most effective and least costly levels of Attendance Works’ three-tiered approach to getting and keeping students in school. These tiers of intervention focus on prevention-oriented supports (Tier 1) and personalized outreach (Tier 2).
Enrollment ends soon. To learn more, visit www.allhere.com/spring-support.