We generated our recommendations based on the findings in the following areas:
Assisting with Parent Perception Involvement with Better Communication (Macro Level)
These recommendations were generated after coding each parent interview, combing themes and discussing these themes with our group. Our recommendations encompass all areas our parents have expressed difficulty with or wanted to see improvement on soon. Here are some further action steps to ensure that this happens:
- Implement a parent task force dedicated to attendance issues, and pay them for their time (many parents are paid hourly, and can’t afford to miss work for school-based activities, so offering a stipend would increase participation and commitment levels). These parents can bring forward issues to administrators, follow up on families, and work collectively on community solutions.
- Streamline communication beyond the school-based portal, such as implementing a weekly newsletter highlighting important items; utilize multiple forms of communication when reaching out to parents, such as texts, phone calls, and emails.
Addressing the School Climate, Barriers, and Education for Students (Micro/Macro-Level)
From the student interviews, we have complied recommendations based off reoccurring interview themes. These recommendations cover issues at the macro-level and micro-level:
- Partner with community organizations to train administrators and staff on asset-based language; utilize flyers with helpful techniques (I.e., efficient phrasing, positive quotes, visuals of societal rewards when used, etc.) that can promote inclusive school culture. By having these visuals posted around school, sent in the mail to the families, this could engage all participating parties to more inclusive based language to decrease high school absenteeism.
- Pursue grants for external curriculum (I.e., field trips) to engage the students more. This can be done on a bi-monthly basis to have something for the kids to look forward to, especially with so many community opportunities in Connecticut.
- Implement “Breakfast after the Bell” and free coffee as incentives and ways to decrease high school absenteeism.
Involving Community Members (Meso/Macro-Level)
In general, the literature pointed to ways in which schools could garner support from parents and communities to address absenteeism on the community level and provide more points of connection and mentorship for students other than their (often over-extended) parents. One example is in New Haven where ten community organizations partner with schools to provide support and mentorship for students and families. It has been shown that mentor programs can help keep children in school, so this initiative will provide extra support for students who are not receiving it at school. Here is a link with extra information about the new initiative in New Haven, CT :