Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Reducing Absenteeism

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: I would like some practical techniques to help reduce absenteeism in our school.

A: Absenteeism from school is a problem for students and teachers and ultimately for the community. If a policy is established at the very beginning (kindergarten) and consistently followed all the way through the school system, success for minimal absenteeism can be achieved.

Read the school handbook and see what procedure should be followed when a child is going to be absent. It helps if a parent calls in an absence a half hour before the start of school. If a phone call is not received, the school calls the parent. This insures that if the child was sent to school, nothing happened along the way and that the child is not skipping school. At the beginning of school, an emergency card is filled out with people who may be contacted if an emergency occurs. If the child is absent and the parent cannot be contacted, the backup person is called to determine the child's whereabouts. At first this can be very time consuming, but parents must understand that it is about the students' education and safety.

Another effective technique is to publicize the percentage of students absent on an average day and set a goal to improve. Tell the students what the percentage is. Set an 'attendance' goal and have them draw a big graph that charts progress. The more involved they are in solving the problem, the more likely it is that the problem will diminish.

More on: Expert Advice

After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks