As schools in the U.S. resume this fall mostly online, they are considering how to manage something they used to be able to do more easily: figure out who is missing.
Propelled by concerns about students falling behind, some districts used the summer to figure out how to better engage and keep track of children in a largely virtual environment. But with some families still finding the online system too overwhelming, potentially taking students out of school permanently, teachers and advocates are actively trying to find ways to reach out.
When schools closed abruptly this spring, few opted to take regular or daily attendance. That’s starting to change, says Hedy Chang with the nonprofit Attendance Works. She encourages districts to use attendance not for punishing parents whose kids don’t participate, but to learn which kids need support and which interventions are helping kids stay engaged.
In San Antonio, educators and