Regular attendance

Regular attendance at school maximizes students' opportunities to participate more fully in learning activities and form relationships with others, and increases the likelihood of school bonding and successful high school completion.

Choose the statement below that best describes how this student manages regular attendance.
This will help you identify a starting point for selecting strategies (e.g., 1=specialized, 2=targeted, 3=universal).

  • 1. Chronic absence from school (e.g., more than once per week) is interfering with learning and participation and requires support from school and parents
  • 2. Requires frequent (e.g., more than twice per month routinely) intervention to attend school regularly
  • 3. Generally attends school on a regular basis (e.g., absent less than once per month)

Universal Supports benefit all students

  • Work collaboratively with school staff to ensure that there are school-wide expectations for regular attendance and identify school incentives to reward regular attendance (e.g., recognition at school assemblies, positive messages home to parents, etc.).
  • Communicate clear expectations with the students about the importance of regular classroom attendance by brainstorming the benefits of coming to school every day.
  • Develop effective classroom routines that will support regular attendance, such as:
    • greeting the students as they enter the school and classroom each day to help them feel welcome and help you notice if they are having any problems
    • developing a relationship with each student by getting to know something about the student that you can talk about with him or her
    • providing motivating activities at the opening of the day or class, such as physical activities, brain teasers, jokes of the day, or interesting historical or science facts
    • surprising students occasionally with unusual learning activities that will increase their desire to come to class to see 'what will happen' each day.
  • Use descriptive feedback to reinforce students when they demonstrate regular attendance.

Targeted Supports benefit students with more specific needs

  • As part of active supervision, provide individual or small groups of students with increased proximity to ensure that they proceed directly to classroom at the bell.
  • If there is a pattern of missed school days or missed classes, talk with parents to identify any areas that may need to be supported to ensure improved attendance.
  • Talk with the student to identify if there are concerns at school, such as avoiding situations that may be stressful.
  • Develop self-monitoring strategies students can use to keep track of their own progress. Some students may benefit from one-week or one-month goal setting related to increasing the number of days they attend school or a particular class.
  • Develop a systematic approach to reinforcement, either at the class or individual level, to encourage students to attend school every day and participate in every class. Reinforcement should encourage moving toward intrinsic motivation (e.g., "How does it feel …?").

Parents know their children well and can offer insights on how to support their social and emotional well-being. There is strength in collaborating on strategies that could be used at home, at school and in the community.


Specialized Supports benefits the small number of students with sensory, physical, cognitive or behavioural needs that require intensive, individualized interventions

  • Work with the student and his or her family to help develop an individual behaviour support plan focused on increasing school attendance. If chronic attendance is significantly affecting the student's learning it may be necessary to access additional community supports. Consider what type of reinforcement system could support this plan.