Truancy Creep: How Kinvolved’s Community Manager is Helping Schools Increase Attendance

By Miranda Meyerson, Community Manager, Kinvolved

students-377789_1280While listening to NPR a few weeks ago, a story came on that was written and produced by high school students at WNYC Radio Rookies. The fact that the story was produced by students was remarkable, and being a teacher I couldn’t help but turn it up.

This episode was aptly titled Nine People, One Bedroom. The very apparent theme was that for one reason or another, the articulate and intelligent teenaged boy featured in the story kept missing school. His attendance at school became his last priority.

This begs the questions: Why? And where are this boy’s parents? His mother said that she did not see herself as his champion in school. Rather, her job was to make sure he was housed and fed and loved. And sometimes, he needed to help her also provide these basic needs for his younger siblings. In retrospect, she says she should have emphasized school. But, his mother was undoubtedly loving, and she was doing what she felt was right.

The dilemma presents itself:  if we assume most parents are doing what they think is best for their children, but some parents don’t understand the value of attendance, or feel there families have more immediate needs than to be educated, what can we do?

We at Kinvolved want to help educate parents and keep them informed. Our mission is to, through direct, real-time communication with families, address some of the fair, but counterproductive, actions of parents. We hope to make parents our partners in ensuring daily student attendance to school.

We are not solving poverty, childcare challenges, or overcrowding. But we are bridging a gap in knowledge through action.

This semester at Kinvolved, we are helping to bridge the school–family gap in three ways:

  1. Meet the parents: We are attending PTA meetings and other events that invite parents to school to let them know about Kinvolved. When parents know they should be expecting texts and emails from their children’s teachers, they can know they are invited to be “in the loop.” They can speak up when they are not receiving sufficient information.
  2. Share basic information: We are lessening teachers’ workloads by sending them informative texts to simply cut and paste, then send to families.
  3. Strategize necessary interventions: Our Community Manager at Kinvolved is providing school with implementable strategies to decrease absenteeism and increase punctuality.

Miranda Meyerson joins Kinvolved as our Community Manager. Miranda is a former educator with 12 years of experience in the classroom. She recently supported Kaplan TechStars, and also works with other education technology companies in New York City.

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