Resources

Guide to Using Remind for Attendance

Administrators
Guides

For administrators with a Remind plan

The Remind plan includes access to organization-wide messaging and the option to add on advanced messaging features.

For administrators with a Remind plan

The Remind plan includes access to organization-wide messaging and the option to add on advanced messaging features.

This attendance guide was developed to provide administrators with effective, actionable steps for tackling chronic absence with the Remind plan. The recommendations you’ll find here are based on educator experiences, school and district feedback, and proven frameworks and best practices in the field.

As importantly, these strategies are crafted to be simple, straightforward, and easy to implement—no matter where you are in your attendance journey.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Section 1: Brainstorm: Attendance and family engagement
  • Section 2: Strategies for encouraging good attendance (Tier 1)
  • Section 3: Strategies for early outreach and problem-solving (Tier 2)
  • Section 4: Additional resources

In Sections 2 and 3, which are based on the tiers of intervention developed by Attendance Works, you'll find brief summaries of each strategy, explanations of how to put them into practice with Remind, and example messages you can adapt for your own organization.

Want to watch the video version of this guide? Check out the webinar we hosted with Attendance Works:


Attendance and family engagement

To set the right goals for your organization, it’s helpful to think about attendance messaging as a form of family engagement. Tackling chronic absence involves students, families, and the broader community—so it makes sense when attendance interventions end up looking a lot like the engagement strategies you might already be familiar with.

Our take? Save some time and make the most of the overlap.

To get an idea of where this might be for your community, we'll start with a quick exercise.

Brainstorm

Take 10-15 minutes to write out your responses to the following questions. No need to to get too detailed; these are just some thought-starters to get you warmed up.

Effective communication:

  • What channels have been the most effective for reaching families?
  • What types of messages (length, frequency, content, etc.) have been the most effective at eliciting the outcomes you want?

Two-way communication:

  • How do families respond to notifications from your organization?
  • How else do you get information from families in the community?

Expectations:

  • What are the most common actions that families need to take for attendance?
  • How are these asks communicated to them?

Climate:

  • What strategies does your organization use to create a positive climate for families?
  • How do teachers in your organization foster an ongoing relationship with students and their families?

Hopefully, this exercise helps you identify what’s been working for your organization and what you’d like to improve—so you can go into the next sections with a clearer picture of how to adapt attendance strategies for your community.


Tier 1 interventions: Encouraging good attendance

Research shows that misconceptions about chronic absence can affect attendance, and not in a good way. Families tend to underestimate student absences and their impact because of grade level, frequency, or other assumptions—think “Attendance doesn’t matter as much in the lower grades” or “They’ve only missed a few days a month.”

That’s where Attendance Works’ Tier 1 strategies come in. When it comes to tackling absenteeism, universal prevention really is the best intervention.

Strategy: Help parents understand the importance of attendance

Get ahead of misunderstandings by proactively communicating why student attendance matters, and plan out content a few weeks at a time to test different approaches and see what resonates with your community.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Introduce official initiatives or programs
  • Explain why attendance is crucial to student success
  • Share resources for common barriers to attendance
  • Address common assumptions in your community

When it comes to organization-wide communication, reinforcement and engagement are key. Make sure messages are going out regularly, and keep them interesting and on the shorter side: You might not be able to pack all the information you want to share in a single announcement, but getting families to read it is worth the trade-off.

Put it into practice with Remind

Your Remind plan includes organization-wide messaging, which lets you send announcements to your entire community. Families receive these messages on the same channels they already use for class communication.

You can also save time by scheduling messages in advance.

TIP: Set up a schedule that fits your workflow. One attendance support coach likes setting aside time on Fridays to write and schedule all of her daily messages for the upcoming week.

Example: Organization-wide attendance announcements

Weekly:

Did you know that just TWO absent days a month can make it harder for students to stay on track? Attendance matters for all of us at Remind Unified School District, and we need your help! If you need support, please call xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Every day matters! When we see students at school, our team can provide the support that leads to better academic outcomes and increases connections with the school community.

Strategy: Make sure parents have an updated count of absences

Parents often underestimate student absences, especially if they happen sporadically—but even two missed days a month turn into chronic absence over the course of a year.

Keep parents up to date by periodically sharing the total number of absences, whether as part of daily attendance notifications, separately, or both. And to help put this number in perspective, consider comparing their children’s attendance with other students in their grade, school, or district.

Put it into practice with Remind

If you have advanced messaging, available as an add-on to your Remind plan, you can automate notifications you send on a regular basis—daily, monthly, or at any other frequency.

You can also customize auto messages with SIS data like student names and absence counts, so it’s easy to set up targeted notifications with specific information.

TIP: For attendance notifications, make sure to include basic identifiers like the student’s name and class missed—a small but very helpful detail for families with multiple students.

Example: Automated attendance notifications

Daily:

{{Student name}} was marked unexcused today for a total of {{#}} absences this year. Please reply to this message or call the front office at xxx-xxx-xxxx if this was in error. Thank you!

Monthly:

Our school is here to support {{Student name}}! They’ve missed {{#}} days this month, compared to a district average of {{#}}. If you or your child need any support, please reply to this message.


Tier 2 interventions: Early outreach and problem-solving

Prevention aside, the best time for an attendance intervention is as soon as a student’s absences start becoming problematic, not when they turn into chronic absence. Tier 2 strategies are all about heading off absenteeism as early as possible—and that means making sure you’re equipped to identify and address the reasons why a student might not be coming to school.

Strategy: Support ongoing conversations between teachers and families

Two-way conversations open up a line of communication with families that makes it easier to problem-solve when student absences become an issue.

Investing in relationships

Because teachers spend the most time interacting directly with students and parents, they're uniquely positioned to strengthen these connections with 1:1 conversations. This doesn't need to be time-intensive or fully personalized: every message to a parent, no matter how simple, is an opportunity to build more rapport and trust.

Some ideas for early outreach include letting individual families know...

  • That they’re welcomed and supported
  • What kind of resources are available
  • How they can get in touch with questions or concerns
  • About their student’s progress and achievements

Problem-solving absences

When there’s ongoing communication between teachers and families, attendance interventions don’t need to wait until students miss enough school to be an issue. (Although an early pattern of absences—see the note below—is a clear flag for more support.)

Encourage teachers to follow up on student absences with a quick, informal check-in. If there are underlying reasons for the absence, this is a great opportunity to identify and address them with the appropriate interventions.

The common causes for missing a significant amount of school often fall into the following categories:

  • Barriers
  • Negative school experiences
  • Lack of engagement
  • Misconceptions

TIP: According to Attendance Works, the first three months of school are a pretty reliable indicator for the rest of the year: If a student has 2 absences in the first two weeks, 2-3 absences in the first month, or 4 absences in the first two months, they’re at risk for even more.

Put it into practice with Remind

Along with class announcements, teachers can compose and send individual messages directly to parents.

As with all messages on Remind, messages in 1:1 conversations can’t be edited or deleted. With the Remind plan, you can also request message history from users in your organization.

Example: Individual messages

Welcome to my class! I’m looking forward to helping {{Student name}} have a great year. Save this number in your phone, and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Hi {{Parent name}}, I noticed {{Student name}} missed {{X}} days of school this week. Is there anything I can do to help?

Thank you for letting me know about your transportation needs. We can provide a free bus pass for the school year—you or {{Student name}} can pick it up any time from the front office.

Example: Ongoing conversation


Additional resources

There’s a lot of great material about attendance and chronic absenteeism out there—just not enough hours in the day to give them all your undivided attention. With this in mind, here’s a list of selected resources that are especially relevant to this guide. Happy reading!

Educators and organizations using Remind

Tania Dominguez: Finding the reason behind the absence—how this attendance coordinator helps her students keep going

At Tilden High School in Chicago, Tania Dominguez uses Remind to forge stronger relationships with students and support the attendance initiatives and interventions she oversees.

Poinciana High School: Increasing attendance with Remind

This Title I high school in Florida used Remind to send engaging wake-up messages to a pilot group of chronically absent students—and saw a 60% improvement in attendance.

Frameworks and guidelines

The 3-tiered approach to reducing chronic absence: Chronic Absence: 3 Tiers of Intervention (Attendance Works)

At this point, you’re probably intimately familiar with Attendance Works’ three tiers of intervention for reducing chronic absenteeism—but they’re particularly effective (and satisfying) in pyramid form.

An overview of recommended strategies for schools: Chronic Absence: Strategies for School Sites (Attendance Works)

Thinking about developing a school-level approach to reduce chronic absenteeism but a little overwhelmed by all the strategies, tactics, and tips? This overview breaks them down into five categories to give you a bird’s-eye view of how to get started.

A toolkit for engaging parents on attendance: Bringing Attendance Home: Engaging Parents in Preventing Chronic Absence (Attendance Works)

With a brief research summary, sharable materials, and interactive exercises for creating dialogue, this Attendance Works toolkit is a focused resource for engaging with groups of parents in your community.

Practical strategies for improving attendance: Attendance Playbook: Smart Solutions for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism (FutureEd and Attendance Works)

These 20+ attendance strategies were developed with implementation and scalability in mind. Categorized by tier, each intervention includes the ESSA evidence level, successful schools and districts, and a summary of relevant research.

Academic studies

How short, frequent alerts to parents improved student achievement: Leveraging Parents through Low-Cost Technology: The Impact of High-Frequency Information on Student Achievement (Peter Bergman and Eric W. Chan, 2019)

This study used SIS information (missed assignments, grades, and class absences) to send automated weekly updates to parents about their child’s academic progress. After a year, these alerts reduced course failures, increased class attendance, and increased student retention—with a bigger impact for students in high school or with lower GPAs. (Read the NPR summary)

How ongoing two-way, text-based support successfully reduced kindergarten absenteeism: Connect-Text: Leveraging Text-Message Communication to Mitigate Chronic Absenteeism and Improve Parental Engagement in the Earliest Years of Schooling (Ken Smythe-Leistico and Lindsay Page, 2018)

This communication system designed for this study focused on encouraging good attendance, providing personalized attendance feedback, and tackling barriers that prevented parents from getting students to school regularly. Along with reducing chronic absenteeism at the pilot school, this program saw particularly high parent interest and participation.

How a single postcard about improving attendance helped reduce student absenteeism: A randomized experiment using absenteeism information to “nudge” attendance (Todd Rogers, Teresa Duncan, Tonya Wolford, John Ternovski, Shruthi Subramanyam, and Adrienne Reitano, 2017)

In partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, this study sent families a single postcard in the fall—one version with encouragement about improving attendance and one with additional information about their child’s absences. Both versions saw a reduction in absences for grades 1-12. (Read the FutureEd summary)


And that's it! Tackling chronic absenteeism can be daunting, especially when the stakes are so high, but effective communication and family engagement can go a long way in improving student attendance.

Interested in what else you can do with your Remind plan? Check out our premium training offerings here and reach out to training@remind.com for more information.

Questions on any of the material? Don’t hesitate to contact our Support team at support@remind.com for priority support. We're here to help!