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'Nudge' Letters Help Cut Chronic Absenteeism

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In Tacoma, Wash., and 16 other cities across the nation, districts are boosting student attendance by sending home what they call "nudge" letters when students miss too many days of school.

The letters include a tally of a student's absences—a number that research shows parents usually underestimate. The letters also provide the absence average for the school and for the child's grade level across the district.

Studies done in Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Mateo, Calif., have shown the letters can reduce chronic-absenteeism rates by as much as 15 percent. After just one round of letters, Tacoma's Lister Elementary School showed attendance improved for 62 percent of the students who received them.

Vol. 36, Issue 24, Page 5

Published in Print: March 8, 2017, as 'Nudge' Letters Help Cut Chronic Absenteeism
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