When it comes to summer programs, every day that you can keep a child attending and engaged increases the likelihood that they’ll do better in the following school year. It’s a daunting task, you’re up against national marketing campaigns spending millions of dollars, encouraging kids to stay inside, watch TV, eat sugar right out of the bag. We’re here to support you with best practices from local and national providers.
Promoting daily attendance among students begins in spring with recruitment and retention, and continues from Day 1 of your program. We encourage you to check out the related sections of Recruitment and Engagement to learn about best practices ranging from signing up students to keeping them committed to their program of choice.
The Boston Nature Center and New Sector Alliance developed a field guide to engage families and promote student daily attendance. Lessons learned from this field guide were also featured in a journal article about family engagement, student attendance, and positive student outcomes. Generally, there are three reasons why students don’t attend a summer program:
- They choose not to attend (they don’t see the value in attending)
- They can’t get to the program (family illness, transportation issues)
- They won’t attend the program (concerns about safety)
Any of these reasons can waylay even the most dedicated student, but it can be devastating for a child who is struggling. Here are some strategies for keeping things on an even keel.
Best Practices for Improving Attendance in Summer Programs:
Encourage & Support
Summer Learning only lasts a bit more than a month, so every day counts. It’s fun, and can help children get ready to succeed next year – but only if the child attends regularly. Learn more about how to encourage and support your students to improve attendance.
Promote Safety & Inclusiveness
A safe place to learn and play can make the difference between a good day at your summer site and a difficult one.
Greeting your students each morning, congratulating a child for good attendance, and creating a welcoming experience for your site can make a child feel valued, engaged, and committed to participating every day.
Program Spotlight: Achieve
Read about Achieve’s best practices for promoting high attendance among middle school students.
Program Spotlight: Camp Harbor View
Read about Camp Harbor View’s best practices for promoting high attendance among high school students.
Program Spotlight: IBA
Read about IBA’s best practices for promoting high attendance among early elementary school students.
Attendance Master Document – this includes all the material presented on this website and resources referenced.Updated: Jul 21, 2016