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Increasing Student Attendance through Family Engagement

Minnesota 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 schools with strong family engagement prior to the COVID-19 pandemic had notably lower levels of chronic absenteeism compared to others. “Schools with stronger, pre existing family engagement—measured in surveys that assessed trust between parents and teachers, parent involvement in schools, and parents’ influence in schools’ decision making- had chronic absenteeism rates after remote learning that were about 6 percentage points lower than similar schools with weaker family engagement.”

Research and Resources on Family Engagement:

Minnesota Department of Education: Family and Community Engagement (FACE)

Education Week: New Research Finds a Crucial Factor in Reducing Chronic Absenteeism 

Student Engagement and Attendance Center: Planning Tool for Family Engagement

Local Spotlight: Laura Jeffrey Academy is a tuition-free charter middle school in St. Paul, offering STEM-focused, inclusive educational experiences for students in grades 5-8. The school prioritizes strong family engagement that starts with expectation-setting at the beginning of year with a family potluck. Laura Jeffrey Academy’s advisory model focuses on addressing current events, as well as student performance and behavior. Staff advisors conduct home visits (either at the family’s home or in a public space) with students on their caseloads in order to establish a strong relationship with parents and caregivers, and maintain an open door policy in the school for parents and family. Every family is required to participate in a school tour at the start of their student’s time at Laura Jeffery, and staff explains the many available ways to engage in their student’s school and learning, including participating directly in the classroom setting to support their student’s school experience.

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