The Underlying Factors That Cause Absenteeism
We believe that great problem solvers—people who find truly effective solutions—spend more time working to understand the problem than they do brainstorming solutions; the solution itself becomes obvious once you thoroughly understand the problem.
This belief is why our team has spent a decade diving deep into the root problems of absenteeism in search of understanding the underlying factors that impact attendance.
Our learnings can be summed up in what we call the Attendance Iceberg Problem, and we’ve designed KiNVO to address all of these issues holistically which is why our partner districts see such remarkable outcomes.
Here's How It Works
Approximately 90% of an iceberg is underwater, and the width of an iceberg is nearly 30% wider that what you see above the surface. The root problems of absenteeism live in the 90% under the surface—they’re personal, familial, social, and economic factors that aren’t easily seen in the classroom.
By monitoring attendance as a binary present/absent metric, you place a focus on the 10% of the iceberg above the surface and neglect everything causing it in the first place. If you never address the underlying problems, you’ll never see an improvement in outcomes.
The underlying causes can include a variety of factors such as:
These attendance challenges can be mitigated by addressing three critical components paired with research-based practices.
1. Accurate Contact Information
Without accurate family contact information, you are extremely limited in the way you can communicate with your families. If a student is absent multiple days in a row, and you don’t have an accurate way to contact their parent or guardian, you limit your abilities to understand the situation.
Inaccurate family contact information can be the result of a family getting new phones, changing addresses, being unable to pay a utility bill, and a myriad of other events. Regardless of the reason, it is paramount to know the accuracy of your contact data so that you can work to update inaccurate information.
2. Ability to Reach ALL Families
With accurate contact information in hand, it’s mission-critical to be able to engage ALL families with two-way communications regardless of language, internet access, device, or housing situation. One-way robocalls or similar are simply not enough and merely “check a box” rather than solve a problem.
With two-way communications translated in 80+ languages in real time across multiple modes of communication, you open the door for families to step in and participate in their student’s academic life. You can learn information—in real time—that would have remained unknown with one-way notifications, and you lay the foundation of building school-home trust.
3. Strong School-Home Relationships
With accurate contact information and an ability to reach ALL families, the final component is to strengthen school-family relationships with positive messaging and research-based teacher and administrator practices. These practices intentionally build relationships with family members so that they become advocates for their students and active participants in their students’ school day.
When strong school-family relationships are in place, family contacts are significantly more likely to communicate challenges at home, student whereabouts, and work with educators to ensure the student is completing homework or other requested tasks at home. The result is a true community of caring adults supporting each student inside and outside of school.