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How an attendance management system can help reduce truancy rates

February, 2018

Following on from our last article on how parent engagement can help with reducing truancy rates at your school, having a Ministry of Education approved attendance management or early notification system can aid in this as well.

Early Notification (EN) is the use of text and/or email messages to notify parents that their child is inexplicably absent from school.

Parents have the opportunity to reply and notify the school of the reason for the absence (e.g. sickness) or that they aren’t aware of the absence, which could highlight a safety or truancy issue.

Wanganui City College is one school that has opted to use EN over traditional attendance management methods. Deputy Principal Doug Ewing says,

“The number one benefit to using School-links EN is the immediacy and the convenience of contacting parents for attendance matters. Rather than calling parents when a child is absent, secretarial staff send a text to parents about the situation. Email is a bit beyond where our parents are at as they’re mostly connected to texting on their cell phones – so texting is the most effective way to get a hold of them.”

Here are nine ways EN makes life easier for the school community:

Benefits of Early Notification for parents and caregivers

  • Fast notification of absences (which could potentially be a child safety issue).
  • Parents and caregivers can respond quickly and cost effectively.
  • It’s less embarrassing for parents or caregivers to respond to a text than a phone call if they have forgotten to notify the school of their child’s absence or/if the reason is personal.
  • Texting is more convenient for those who are unavailable to respond to personal calls during work or study hours.
  • Feedback from School-links’ customers, says that texts are the preferred method of school communication for most parents and caregivers.

Benefits of Early Notification for schools

  • Less time spent by the Attendance Officer in contacting caregivers of absent students.
  • Less expensive than calling mobile phones.
  • Responses go directly into the Student Management System and are easily viewed by the Attendance Officer, making them efficient to process (service offered by some EN providers).
  • Responses are saved in the Student Notes (service offered by some Student Management Systems).

To learn more about EN, download our white paper – The Role of Early Notification in Effective Attendance Management.

Having a Ministry of Education approved EN system can also potentially save your school money. Work out your potential savings with our handy calculator.

 

Reduce truancy rates by connecting with parents

January, 2018

Reduce truancy rates by connecting with parents

The issue of truancy for New Zealand schools reared its head again at the end of 2017, with attendance rates falling even further than previous years. The Ministry of Education reported the number of students regularly attending school fell from nearly 70 percent in Term 2, 2015 to 67 percent in the same period last year. Only 55 percent of Maori students were regularly showing up and 57 percent of Pacific students.

Increasing parent engagement and involvement at school and the wider school community is one way to help reduce truancy rates. Tai Tokerau/Northland Principal’s Association President, Pat Newman mentioned in this Radio NZ article that, “If you haven’t necessarily had a successful education when you were a pupil, then perhaps you don’t see it as important when you are a parent.”

This highlights that some parents may feel alienated, distrustful or disconnected with the school community. This should be of concern to schools, that parents who are involved in school life are more likely to be supportive of their child’s education and have better relationships with teachers.

Could your school put in more effort to include parents?

The key influencing predictor to parent support of their child’s learning is not parent or child behaviour or attitudes, but the school’s behaviour and attitude. When parents feel that the school is actively involving them, they generally respond by becoming more active in their child’s education.

Does your school have the right attitude to involving parents? Does it have an accommodating organisational structure? Are you using effective communication methodologies with your parents?

It is the school’s role to help parents feel welcome and to find a place in the school network where they feel valued and will make a positive impact.

However, even though some parents want to play a part in their child’s school life, they may not know how to contribute.

Check out this infographic for ideas on how parents can be involved in school life.

There are many different roles for parents to become involved that they may not be aware of. This is where strong communication between schools and families is essential.

Clear, effective communication between the school and parents will help to inform them of opportunities to contribute to the school and feel like the school really wants them to be a part of their community.

If cost and time consumption of regular communication to parents is a barrier, there are many technological alternatives to traditionally expensive letters, phone calls and paper notices.

Instant messaging apps, SMS integrated email and mass text messaging systems are popular, low cost communication options that schools across New Zealand are utilising to keep parents in the loop about school involvement opportunities.

Making parents feel more connected and involved with the school community can have a positive impact on their child’s education and relationship with the school, which is one way to help improve truancy rates in New Zealand.

To learn more about effective parent-school communication and strategies to involve parents at school, download the white paper: Upholding a Child’s Education – The Three-Legged Stool Effect.

parent engagement white paper call to action banner

How parent engagement can help with attendance management

July, 2017

How parent engagement can help with attendance management

The recent Ministry of Education report on student attendance rates, also highlighted that Maori and Pasifika students had the lowest attendance rates, with only just over 50 per cent, of these students regularly attending school.

While this is alarming, unfortunately this is not new information. Research into the subject shows that there are a number of factors that play a part in this, but one thing that schools can do to improve student attendance rates is to increase parent engagement with the school and encourage a more culturally inclusive school community.

Is your school putting in enough effort to include parents?

The key influencing predictor to parent support of their child’s learning is not parent or child behaviour or attitudes, but the school’s behaviour and attitude. When parents feel that the school is actively trying to involve them, they generally respond by becoming more involved in their child’s education. You can read one of our previous blogs to see how you can encourage parents to connect.

Unlock the parent potential

As always, communication is the key here. Communities are about relationships. Relationships are about communication. Help your students’ parents feel included and find their identity within their child’s school life through effective, regular communication.

To learn more about effective parent-school communication and strategies to involve parents at school, download the white paper.

Importance of parent engagement for schools

How to empower parents to help reduce truancy in New Zealand

July, 2017

How to empower parents to help reduce truancy in New Zealand

Is Early Notification absent at your school? Increase parent awareness of truancy by keeping them informed with easy communication apps.

A recent Ministry of Education report showed that student attendance rates were falling across New Zealand. 76,500 students were away from school each day in 2016. That equates to 10.2 per cent of students, up from 9.9 per cent in 2015.

Truancy costs schools significant time and resources

For schools that don’t have an early notification system in place and have to follow up on absent students manually, this rise in unexplained absences will also require an increase in time and money spent locating these absent students. For example, a school with a roll of 1000 students with a 10.2 per cent truancy rate can cost the school $20,400 per year in time spent following up and making phone calls. You can see for yourself what this could equate to for your school by using this calculator.

As well as potential significant cost savings to your school by having an early notification attendance management system, there are many other benefits such as student safety and providing a quicker and more convenient method for parents to be aware and respond.

Benefits of Early Notification for parents and caregivers

  • Fast notification of absence (which could potentially be a child safety issue).
  • Parents and caregivers can respond quickly and cost effectively.
  • It’s less embarrassing for them to respond to a text than a phone call if they had forgotten to notify the school of their child’s absence or the reason for the child’s absence is personal.
  • Texting is more convenient for those who are unavailable to respond to personal calls during work or study hours.
  • Feedback from our customers, says that texts are the preferred method of school communication for most parents and caregivers.

Benefits of Early Notification for Schools

  • Less time spent by the Attendance Officer in contacting caregivers of absent students.
  • Less expensive than calling mobile phones.
  • Responses go directly into the Student Management System and are easily viewed by the Attendance Officer, making them efficient to process (service offered by some EN providers).
  • Responses are saved in the Student Notes (service offered by some Student Management Systems).

Click here, to find out more about how an early notification system can help your school.

Keeping track of students with SMS

August, 2016

SND-4Wk1_-ADMIN-SMS-_300x225

School News have a good article on the benefits of a student management system (SMS) and how an early notification (EN) system can complement it and save schools time and money.

Click here to see the article.

Nine Benefits of Using Early Notification in New Zealand Schools

January, 2016

12 March 2013 - Kaiapoi High School.  Photo Simon Baker/Digiflicks

Early Notification (EN) is the use of text and/or email messages to notify parents that their child is inexplicably absent from school.

Here are nine ways EN makes life easier for the school community:

Benefits of Early Notification for parents and caregivers

  1. Fast notification of absences (which could potentially be a child safety issue).
  2. Parents and caregivers can respond quickly and cost effectively.
  3. It’s less embarrassing for them to respond to a text than a phone call if they had forgotten to notify the school of their child’s absence or the reason for the child’s absence is personal.
  4. Texting is more convenient for those who are unavailable to respond to personal calls during work or study hours.
  5. Feedback from our customers, says that texts are the preferred method of school communication for most parents and caregivers.

Benefits of Early Notification for Schools

  1. Less time spent by the Attendance Officer in contacting caregivers of absent students.
  2. Less expensive than calling mobile phones.
  3. Responses go directly back into the Student Management System and are easily viewable by the Attendance Officer, making them efficient to process (service offered by some EN providers).
  4. Responses are saved in the Student Notes (service offered by some Student Management Systems).

To learn about more reasons New Zealand schools are using Early Notification and other attendance management strategies, attend the webinar in February.

Attendance management systems webinar details

Date: 18 February 2016
Time: 11:00am – 11:20am
Presenter: Andrew Balfour, Managing Director of School-links
Topic: Attendance Management systems in New Zealand schools
Audience: School Leaders, Executive Officers, Board of Trustee members
Register: Click here

 

Why Do New Zealand Schools Use Early Notification?

January, 2016

Blog 2 image

Early Notification (EN) is the use of text and/or email messages to notify parents that their child is inexplicably absent from school.

Parents have the opportunity to reply and notify the school of the reason for the absence (e.g. sickness) or that they aren’t aware of the absence, which could be a safety or truancy issue.

Two New Zealand principals share why they opted to use EN over traditional attendance management methods:

Otago Boys’ High School

In the past, for teachers and parents of students at Otago Boys’ High School, there was often a lack of attendance information being shared.

Dougal McGowan, the Deputy Rector of Otago Boys’ High School said that when he arrived at the school, they didn’t have any idea about what the absentee rate was. They didn’t communicate with anybody about it because they didn’t collect the required data efficiently enough.

The concerns around absenteeism and sharing this information with parents was a major driver for a new solution because parents voiced their concerns about not knowing whether their sons were at school or not.

“There’s been a total paradigm shift. Now, with EN we can contact parents directly,” says McGowan.

Wanganui City College

When a student was marked as absent from Wanganui City College, making an enquiry phone call to their parents, found through their student management system KAMAR, wasn’t always straightforward.

Wanganui City College Deputy Principal Doug Ewing says “When we phoned we weren’t always getting in touch.” This was not only a problem regarding the child’s safety but was also time-consuming and frustrating for the office staff making the calls.

“The number one benefit to using School-links EN is the immediacy and the convenience of contacting parents for attendance matters. Rather than calling parents when a child is absent, secretarial staff send a text to parents about the issues. Email is a bit beyond where our parents are at as they’re mostly connected to texting on their cell phones – so texting is the most effective way to get a hold of them,” says Doug.

To learn about more reasons New Zealand schools are using Early Notification and other attendance management strategies, attend the School-links webinar in February.

Attendance management systems webinar details

Date: 18 February 2016
Time: 11:00am – 11:20am
Presenter: Andrew Balfour, Managing Director of School-links
Topic: Attendance Management systems in New Zealand schools
Audience: School Leaders, Executive Officers, Board of Trustee members
Register: Click here

 

Transform Your Attendance Management System [Webinar]

January, 2016

12 March 2013. Halswell Primary School.  Photo by Simon Baker

Attendance Management in many schools is a laborious, time-consuming task that can be simply modernised using Early Notification. Early Notification is a Ministry of Education approved means of notifying parents via text or email that their child is absent.

School-links, a leader in the field of Attendance Management, and one of only a handful of providers in New Zealand to hold Ministry Approval, will share their wealth of knowledge on Early Notification and the experiences of their partner schools in the upcoming webinar.

  • Part 1 of this webinar explains how Early Notification works, integrating seamlessly with your existing systems.
  • Part 2 examines the benefits to your school – staff, students, parents/caregivers and the wider community such as Area Attendance Officers and Community Police.

Plus:

  • You will have an opportunity to ask questions.
  • You will receive a checklist “How to Choose Your Early Notification Provider.”
  • You will receive a worksheet to help your school calculate exactly how much time and money you could save by using an Early Notification system.

WEBINAR DETAILS

Date: 18 February 2016
Time: 11:00am – 11:20am
Presenter: Andrew Balfour, Managing Director of School-links
Topic: Attendance Management systems in New Zealand schools
Audience: School Leaders, Executive Officers, Board of Trustee members
Register: Click here

 

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