Do You Have Ideas on Student Attendance and Retention? Share Your Experiences with a Fellow Educator

Teachers, volunteers, social workers…your feedback and expertise is needed!

What’s one of the simplest and most important things we can all do to support education in our community?  We can support each other in this work!  And with the speed and ease of technology, we can even do this from the comfort of our own homes on a chilly Saturday morning (as I do now). 

I received a Facebook post from a former student of mine who is now continuing work to support young people through her role as a case manager.  She has a question for all of you who have worked with or are working with young people.  More than anything, I hope that this space will grow as a place to share information and to support each other in this work.  Please reply with your ideas for Jaydra!  See her question below:

Hi everyone! I took Zapoura’s capstone a couple of years ago and have continued working with youth in educational settings. I am now a case manager with a job readiness and education program for 18-24 year olds with backgrounds. This work makes me hopeful and inspired in a lot of ways, but it can also be frustrating. Right now we are having serious attendance issues and I am wondering if anyone has any ideas about how to improve this problem. Any teachers, mentors, social workers, or parents have any ideas?
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One thought on “Do You Have Ideas on Student Attendance and Retention? Share Your Experiences with a Fellow Educator

  1. We’ve had some great responses from PDXers on Facebook so far! See below:

    From Casey: Small (or big to them!) incentives like gas cards or bus passes will do the trick.

    From Chaz: Yep…from my experience, that’s the age where the call of their social lives and the daily hustle can be a strong pull from school. I think it really depends on the person. Incentives can definitely help… not sure what the setting is like, but anytime you can offer young people something healthy that they want and can’t get easy access to anywhere else…that’s a good thing. I ran a music studio at an alternative HS for a number of years that targeted ages 12-21. We could count on a certain group of kids, who had mostly dropped out of other schools, to be at our doors at 8 am and they wouldn’t leave until 5:00pm…they knew the more time they put in our program, the more time they would get in the studio. The big things that kept our 18-21 year olds coming were #1) diploma and/or any other certification they could work towards (I had 5 certificates they could earn in the studio: audio engineering, music production, lyrics/songwriting, music history, music management). 2) Physical/Material resources, ie FOOD!, clothes, diapers, toiletries, (all these things could be bought in the school store with Incentive Money, which was handed out for positive behavior/participation). Bus passes could be tricky, because some students would just show up on the first day of every month lol. Bus tickets, sometimes, were more effective. 3) The personal connection. Making it a safe and welcoming destination for young people is key… but of course it’s hard to make those connections when you only see folks a couple days every few weeks… One of the things that was hard in the school, is that one year we focused on Communication Activities every day with the 18-21 year olds. Many had been incarcerated, were on parole, etc…and participating in a these activities was a struggle. But what we saw in terms of camaraderie and personal growth was amazing. The hard part, though, was that this kind of progress is hard to quantify within the educational requirements of ODE. So, I was just visiting the school, and now students spend most of their time on individual computer workstations doing online learning. It’s easier to track progress with kids at different levels…much easier for reporting. I think the quiet time the kids get at their individual stations is really valuable, considering how hectic some of their lives are, but it is sad to see the communication activities go away. Anyway…those are a few thoughts…hope that helps.

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