“They don’t want to miss school!”

Children fall behind when they miss school and absence rates are higher than ever before. Yet Tools children don’t want to miss a minute and their teachers connect it directly to their investment in their learning.

The challenge


What we heard from teachers and administration at after implementing Tools at

“They don’t want to miss school!”


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The process

Committee search to choose the right curriculum

Selection of Tools of the Mind curriculum & professional development

Tools training and implementation for all relevant staff

Teaching and learning review and outcomes

In a post-COVID-19 era of troubling absenteeism, with chronic absence levels on the rise – even in elementary schools – children in Tools classrooms don’t want to miss out on learning they’re excited about or disappoint ‘study buddies’ they know rely on them. 

Tools teacher: “I’ve never had a higher attendance rate”

Listen in as these Tools teachers talk about how, in contrast to recent trends, attendance rates in their classrooms are higher than ever before, with huge numbers of students earning perfect attendance awards and one child even insisting that the class waits for him to get back from the bathroom before continuing with the lesson. 

Using community connection as a motivator

There are many reasons why children have been increasingly absent from school in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic, including illness, lack of reliable transportation and an altered view of the importance of daily attendance at school after long stretches of at-home learning. One sometimes overlooked reason is a lack of student engagement in the classroom. When students want to come to school, they are more likely to, and their sense of belonging and connection in the classroom is a powerful motivator. By setting up a classroom community where children are invested in their peers and in their learning, Tools teachers are finding that students don’t want to miss out on the action.

Tools Takeaways

  • Chronic absenteeism (students missing 10% or more school days in a year) has exploded since the pandemic amongst students of all ages, including enormous increases in absences for elementary school students 
  • Chronic absences are “associated with significant declines in student achievement” and stand in the way of efforts to remedy learning loss
  • In addition to removing barriers to attendance, a key component to addressing chronic absenteeism is ensuring that children are engaged and connected to their school communities

See this article for more on the challenges of chronic absence and how we can respond.