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  • Writer's pictureJ.D. Merrill

September is a big month for school leaders. Here is what is on their minds

The back-to-school madness is over. A month ago school leaders were making sure floors were waxed, schedules completed, and professional development planned.

Now that students and teachers are back in classrooms, school leaders' attention shifts to instructional rounds, attending vertical team meetings, and setting a tone for academic excellence for the school year. Or so it should.

Too often attention to teaching and learning gets derailed and the school leader spends September worrying about the bottom line: will I have enough kids in my building to balance my budget?

Here’s what school leaders can do in September to hit their goals:

  • Enrollment: Monitor your enrollment every day. Have a member of your team provide a copy of your enrollment gaining and losing report every morning. Know your enrollment data and which way it’s going. You don’t want to be surprised at the end of the month. If you need more students in chairs, it’s better to know you have to find them sooner rather than later.

  • Attendance: It’s important to set the tone with strong attendance from day one. Have your team pull a list of no-show students. Divide up the calls and figure out where they are. Are they coming at all? Do they intend to transfer? Figure out the issues and have your team resolve them.

  • Chronic Absenteeism: Once you’ve addressed your no-shows, have your team put the pedal to the metal on preventing chronic absenteeism. If you’ve developed a tiered attendance intervention plan, you should have clear actions in place for when a student hits certain thresholds for number of days absent or if a student is absent for consecutive days in a row. Have your team monitor it, every day. You should know when students are moving toward chronic absenteeism and have a plan in place for what to do.

  • Immunization: Students not eligible to come to school because of immunization aren’t eligible to be funded. Know what your immunization requirements are and what students don’t meet them. Organize a team to do an all-out press to get the students immunized. Partner with a local health organization to host an immunization clinic at your school if you need to. In Baltimore, a few good partners are: Lifebridge Health and Total Health Care.

We know September is a big deal. We’ve been in your shoes. If you are looking for a partner to help drive gains in enrollment, improve attendance, reduce chronic absenteeism, or get your students immunized, we’d love to be in touch to see how we can work together.

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