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  • Erica Peterson

Life moves pretty fast

I’m back from leave with a new dear daughter in tow. During my leave, school resumed across the nation in various ways: in-person instruction with social distancing, online or distance learning, or some combination of the two. While these permutations look slightly different at each school, one thing that remains constant is the need for students to be present and accounted. Showing up in the classroom or the living room is vital not only to student academic success but as spring closures revealed, school connectedness is a key component of student mental health. The fundamentals I’ve been preaching since April to take attendance, connect & communicate, and track data remain the same regardless of what type of instruction you offer. Below is a recap of a few our Attention2Attendance recommended practices:


  • Redefine attendance to include participation or check-ins and take attendance daily.

  • Use your standard attendance codes for all in-person instruction and then create a separate set of codes for distance learning.

  • For hybrid models: Use in-person attendance codes for in-class instruction and distance learning/participation codes for remote learning days.


  • Communicate early and often to those not showing up, leverage both electronic platforms and postal mail.

  • Send a series of attendance/engagement intervention letters triggered by the number of absences or the number days of dis-engagement. They should support the specific learning track(s) your district is offering.

  • Do not wait, if your school is not deploying interventions, start now.

  • Communicate in the family's native language.


  • Compile district level attendance to quantify participation rates and to spot patterns or trends.

  • Analyze your data at the campus level to prioritize which students needs more support or connected with additional resources.

If your district is struggling in any of these areas, you are not alone. Email me at


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