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Increasing Attendance through Positive School Climate/Multi-Tiered System of Supports

smiling studentMinnesota Alliance With Youth’s 2024 Report: Chronic Absenteeism: A National and Local Challenge highlights several effective strategies with strong evidence that can be employed to increase student engagement post pandemic.

Research shows that implementing a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports framework (PBIS) in a school setting shifts the disciplinary focus from punishing negative behaviors to acknowledging positive ones. A positive school climate results from the school’s efforts to prioritize fostering safety; promoting a supportive academic, disciplinary, and physical environment; and encouraging and maintaining respectful, trusting, and caring relationships throughout the school community. The social-emotional bond teachers establish with students through PBIS fosters a positive school environment. By utilizing PBIS to emphasize positive behaviors, it can decrease problematic conduct, enhance perceptions of school safety, and boost academic achievements. A positive school climate is critically related to school success, leading to improved attendance, achievement, retention and even rates of graduation, according to research.

Research and Resources: 

Getting students on track for graduation: Impacts of the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System after one year

National Center on Safe Learning Environments: School Climate Improvements

MDE: Minnesota Multi-tiered System of Supports (MnMTSS)0

Minnesota PBIS

Local Spotlight: Aitkin Public School District utilizes Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) programming districtwide to address the growth and achievement of students. Their District Strategic Plan prioritizes several critical areas of growth, including Student Growth and Achievement, Student Development and Support, and Safe Learning Environments. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) are integrated into the plan to provide opportunities for students and staff to have positive interactions. The District employs an Assessment Coordinator who helps focus the MTSS system in the district. Superintendent Dan Stifter said, “Our district has taken a team approach to work within our MTSS framework to not only focus on academics but to also build relationships with students across the board. We know and believe that students who have positive relationships within their school will do better both academically and socially.” Currently, the priority areas are data and student support, and we are fortunate to have AmeriCorps Promise Fellows in our high school during the last 2 years. The Promise Fellows’ work has centered around intervening by building relationships with our chronically absent students. The district’s robust MTSS framework has led to promising results; Aitkin Secondary’s graduation rate in 2022 was 86%, with an additional 6% continuing their education to pursue high school graduation in more than 4 years (compared to the state average graduation rate of 83.6% with 7.8% continuing.

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