A “joyous rebellion against authority and responsibility.”
Those were the works of Mark Twain in Huckleberry Finn where the term truancy first evolved. Truancy’s no work of fiction.
Most communities face problems with truancy as some students frequently miss school without a bona fide reason. Every school day, hundreds of thousands of elementary, middle school, and high school students are truant. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for the 2015-2016 school year, nearly 8 million American students at every level missed three or more weeks of school due to chronic absences.
There are concerns from superintendents and schools if intervention programs can help these students. We have 10 reasons why a truancy intervention program can help.
As a superintendent, your days are filled with many tasks, including diving into attendance. You’re dealing with low attendance rates across your district. You probably have problems ensuring students are attending classes as well as keeping strong and reliable absence reports.
Today’s Roles in Truancy
Your schools’ climate plays a role. There are student attachments to their teachers, the effects of specific truancy policies, and feelings of physical safety. These work to greatly affect a student’s desire to attend school.
Parents play a critical role. They must ensure that their children go to school on time each day. However, issues arise when there’s little or no parental guidance. More serious problems include neglect or domestic violence or if drugs or alcohol abuse are involved.
What about your students? Their role is to come to school and follow directions from their teachers and other adults. But some factors can stand in the way. They may be behind on schoolwork, are bullied, have peer pressure to skip school, or feel teachers or other adults don’t care about them.
The effects of truancy
The devastating effects can be evident in the short term and far-reaching. Truant students are unable to catch up in school due to their repeated absences and subsequent failures, with a strong possibility of not graduating. With repeated truancy, they can expect suspensions, expulsions, juvenile delinquency, and future adult crime.
You should identify these students and respond by placing them into effective intervention programs that benefit them, their families, and the community.
10 Reasons Why a Truancy Intervention Program Can Work
There’s no reason why a truant student should be left by the wayside. Let’s look at 10 reasons why a truancy intervention program can help your students.
A truancy intervention program (TIP) is a program that’s designed to support students who are habitually truant. TIP works with the student’s parents or guardians, teachers and other school staff, social workers, and others in the community.
- TIP intervenes early. At-risk students can be identified and monitored, particularly important early in their education. Attendance problems and truancy usually begin in the elementary grades. When these are addressed before they can escalate, behaviors and attitudes toward school can often be changed before they worsen. Home visits and outreach to the parents when minimal unexcused absences are involved, enabling family engagement early on. Interventions should address the root causes of the truant behaviors such as reading difficulties or physical or mental health issues. Early childhood education and early literacy development can be introduced.
- The program promotes attendance. The student is matched with a volunteer mentor who visits them several times a week in school. The mentor monitors the student’s daily attendance, performs in-school tutoring, acts as a positive role model, helps with goal setting and achieving, communicating with school staff and social workers.
- A truancy intervention program promotes student health. Because poor health is often a barrier to attending school, the student is encouraged to engage in healthy behaviors involving personal hygiene to prevent common illnesses. The student’s health should extend to access to a school-based health center for screenings and free medical services.
- A TIP reduces barriers to learning. Barriers to learning can include class instruction moving too fast, health problems, or an inability to find help. Students may not receive appropriate support from home or even within the classroom environment. Your school needs to provide a positive environment where the student can feel safe and engaged. This includes having a positive school climate if the student feels the current one is negative.
- A truancy intervention program engages students in learning. When the student has a multifaceted support system in place from teachers, administrators, parents, and their surrounding community, they become better engaged. They have the feeling of being cared for, resulting in better learning.
- A truancy intervention program helps students achieve. With truant students off the streets and in a positive learning situation with caring people, they can achieve their goals and become productive members of society. Students make short- and long-term goals that help them achieve, whether it’s getting to school, passing a class, moving on to the next grade, or graduating from high school.
- A TIP provides support when needed. This includes support from social workers, counselors, school nurses, and school psychologists. Community partners like faith-based communities, law enforcement, after-school or recreation programs can become involved. Proper support can eliminate the barriers to learning and provide the positive support the student needs.
- The TIP drives child and family relationship building. As part of the family outreach, home visits are used for relationship building and problem solving. The TIP would establish a contact person at school for parents to work with. It can refer students to counselors and conduct workshops for the family. If needed, a truant officer can be used to work with the student and their family.
- The truancy intervention program addresses diversity. The program works to support students and families from numerous diverse backgrounds. With the increase in minority populations, TIPs are now addressing these families on a growing basis.
- A truancy intervention program promotes a safe school environment. The school that creates a positive and supportive environment reduces the prevalence of challenging, dangerous, or disrespectful behaviors.
For students who are truant because of bullying or the fear of violence toward them, a TIP works to alleviate that student’s fear to return them into a safer school environment.
ScholarChip’s Proactive Solutions for Improving Student Attendance Rates
As a superintendent, your schools need ways to prevent truancy, develop successful behaviors, and improve attendance rates. A smart ID card and Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE) can help these areas.
ScholarChip One Card
Suffice it to say: an absent student isn’t a learning student.
ScholarChip’s One Card is an automated way to keep attendance — whether it’s in the classroom, anywhere in the school buildings or grounds, or on the bus. Students tap in through kiosks around campus and they’re automatically recorded as present. At-risk student absences are identified in real-time so administrators can intervene quickly. Student attendance increases and truancy rates decrease. Having accurate attendance enables you to submit accurate records.
For a behavior issue like truancy, the student is assigned to take an online remediation class that addresses the problem. This is where ABE comes in.
An Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE) program is a way to engage students in learning and helping them achieve. An ABE program also works to identify students before truancy becomes a chronic problem.
ScholarChip’s ABE flags at-risk students, monitoring and chronicling their progress throughout their school careers. Repeatedly truant students receive automated referrals and interventions. ABE uses age-appropriate and offense-oriented interactive tutorials and games. As they progress, they’re rewarded for positive behaviors.
The system incorporates the complete spectrum of behaviors, integrating interventions and tracking to improve student behavior and educational outcomes.
ScholarChip’s ABE real-time reports enable administrators to see areas that work for students and those that need improvement. The actionable data tracks successes and failures quickly, so teachers, parents, principals, counselors, and even school boards can view the results.
There’s also a parent portal that allows access to referral documentation or reasoning for an assigned intervention. Parents can easily track their student’s progress, promoting valuable parent and school involvement for the truant student.
Using ScholarChip to Aid Truancy
Mark Twain’s school truancy is no joyous rebellion. It’s full of promises of a lifetime of poor outcomes for those who are truant. A truancy intervention program can help your students, and with ScholarChip’s One Card and ABE, you can help your students successfully return to school, realize their goals, and make your schools’ environments a safe and enjoyable place to learn.
To learn more about how a truancy intervention program can help your students, reach out and schedule a 1-on-1 call session with one of our specialists today!