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  • John Franco

Crucial to next year: What to track when school resumes?

Engagement/Participation: What should districts be tracking when school resumes?

With the start of the next school year fast approaching and with distance learning on the horizon, we are getting Ask Erica questions on what needs to be tracked for engagement and participation and what’s the best process to support attendance and participation/engagement.

I’m glad you asked. As you know we have been recommending that districts track daily participation so that you have the data necessary to make ongoing decisions – the level of the student’s engagement determines the appropriate communication.

When the right things are tracked, attendance/engagement interventions will be more effective to reengage “disconnected” students and families.

What's being recommended?

Here are the considerations/best practices we developed with the help of some of our district partners to ensure you have the detailed data necessary to help inform your decisions:

o Assign Instructional Tracks for Each Student

  • For districts that are offering multiple instructional tracks (i.e. Hybrid, Distance Learning, Traditional, etc.), we recommend assigning an instructional track to each student in your SIS system. Some SISs call this learning track, instructional track or instructional setting, etc. This is critical to ensure no students slip through the cracks.

  • Other areas to consider if offering a hybrid schedule: - Each student must have a code that denotes which days of week the student is in class and which days the student is at home.

o Create Additional Codes for Distance Learning

  • We recommend using your standard attendance codes for all in-person instruction and then creating a separate set of codes for any distance learning.

  • If your district is delivering a hybrid model, we recommend using in-person attendance codes for in-class instruction and distance learning codes for remote learning days.

  • Distance learning codes should include excused and unexcused. Here are some things you would want to track so you can prescribe the appropriate interventions and support: - Excused: - COVID Related Issues - Tech Issues - Social/Emotional - Support Needed - Distance Learning - Illness - Ed Code Excused(bereavement, military, funeral, doctor appt, etc) - Unexcused: - Cannot be contacted - Refuse to participate - Not logging on - Not submitting work

o Take attendance/participation daily (or by period at the secondary level)

o Update Attendance Interventions and Notifications

  • COVID-19 is shining a spotlight on the digital divide and equity groups focusing on the achievement gap. Districts need to be able to communicate with all families and document interventions.

  • Your attendance/engagement intervention letters should support the specific learning track(s) your district is offering: - Excused and Unexcused Distance Learning Letters - Hybrid Letters - Truancy Letters with updated messaging

  • Translate your updated letters into the family’s home language.

  • Send a series of attendance/engagement intervention letters triggered by the number of absences or the number days of dis-engagement.

o Identify important student attributes and track per student

  • Due to the unpredictable nature of the upcoming year, we recommend that you track specific student attributes such as ‘Distance Learning,’ ‘No Internet,’ ‘Borrowed Tablet,’ etc.

  • Tracking specific attributes will provide a record of accountability for the district. You will be able to track: - The quantity of students with specific attributes - The length of time a student is associated with a specific attribute

  • Detailed tracking will allow reporting that can provide insight into specific student cohort performance(s)

We're helping districts put all of these best practices in place—how can we help support your efforts?

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