New Toolkit Focused on How to Talk to Parents About Elementary School Absences

February 18, 2016

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The California Attorney General's Office, the Ad Council, and the California Endowment sent communications experts to interview nearly 1,000 parents of chronically absent elementary school students. Interesting things learned from the interviews, includes:

  • Parents have big dreams for their children, but those dreams are tied to high school and beyond (graduation, college admission, etc.). Only 37-41% of interviewed parents thought that K-3 absences are a serious issue.
  • Simple changes to messaging can have a big positive impact. For example, parents are better able to understand the reasonable number of absences if you refer to absences per month (an average of 2+ is too many), as opposed to absences per term or year (18+ absences is too many).
  • Parents prefer to communicate via text message. School and community leaders should consider using text messages as part of a comprehensive outreach strategy.

All of this information is now available in the form of a positive parent messaging toolkit. The toolkit includes all of the research reports, communication tools based on the research, and recommendations that will help district and community leaders develop their own communications strategies.

CCSA is pleased to be part of a large coalition of organizations sharing this information broadly and in particular with the charter school community.

The toolkit is available here.