As an educator who cares, you have the power to make a tremendous difference in the lives of school avoidance students. School avoidance can be a debilitating condition, if not interrupted and addressed at the beginning stage.
Super woman

Champion Roadmap - Step 1

Connection is Key

You clicked here because you believe all students can be successful.

With the right mindset and a few key steps, you have the power to re-engage students and break the cycle of school avoidance.

Early Interventions Lead to the Best Outcomes

And when it comes to school avoidance, we cannot emphasize this point enough.

Here are a few steps to take within your influence.

Look for early warning signs such as

  • Unexplained absences
  • Parent concern
  • Avoiding specific classes/assessments


Absence = Response

Always respond to a school-avoidant student’s absence with follow-up action.

  • A phone call is best practice, but if you only have time for an email or text do it!
  • Inquire about how the student is feeling and leave discussions about missed work for another time.
  • This call is exclusively about care and concern.
  • If the student is not talkative, tell them about something that happened in class they might enjoy.
  • Keep it light and conversational.


Consistent communication following an absence sends the message “I noticed, I care, and I will not give up on you.”

A Bridge Back To Class

Some students, for whatever reason, aren’t ready to attend class regularly.

  • Offer the student an opportunity to meet with you outside of regularly scheduled class time.
  • If You already hold after-school help sessions, invite the student to drop by.
  • If you run a club or extracurricular activity the student might be interested in, extend a personal invite.

Connection is key.

Home Visit

The person in the building most connected to the student is the best person to make the home visit.

  • If this is you, make it happen.
  • If this is not you, reach out to the person most qualified and help make it happen.
  • Never go on a home visit alone & always show up announced with the permission of the parent.
  • A home visit, like a phone call or email, is exclusively about care and concern. You don’t need to be a therapist, but helping the student articulate what is happening in their experience is key.

Communicate With Parents

Parents are a wealth of information and are experts on their child(ren).

  • Align with parents to understand their perspective and help them navigate support services.
  • Parents want their child(ren) to be functioning, healthy adults so believe they are doing the best they can.
  • Meet parents where they are and guide them forward free of any judgment or criticism.

Use Your Resources

Always consider what additional support services are available. Document your interventions and keep everyone informed of progress on a regular and routine basis.

Save Time - Help Kids Right Away

See this 2 minute preview of our one-of-a-kind School Avoidance Master Class for Parents.  There are not enough options for Tier 2 & Tier 3 school avoidance interventions, so we created one! Your school buys it, you give it to parents as an early intervention or in cases where you need to make progress.

Champion Roadmap - Step 2

You’ve tried everything within your influence of control to connect and create a sense of belonging.

You need more support and that’s expected.

Don’t be discouraged and don’t give up!

This is exactly the time school avoidant students need strong advocates.

Be prepared for these next steps with documentation of everything you’ve tried to show what previous interventions were successful.

Keep up your efforts to connect; even the smallest interaction can be meaningful to a school-avoidant student.

Intervention & Referral Services

If the student you are working with does not have a diagnosed disability, working with the Intervention & Referral Service team or multi-disciplinary team in your building is a great place to start.

If the educational professionals suspect the student has an undiagnosed disability – 504 or Special Education must be considered.

Intervention & Referral Services can also help coordinate any regular education support services you haven’t already tried

The agreed-upon Intervention team’s plans should:

  • Be In writing
  • Have clear and measurable goals
  • Have a set follow-up date with parents to assess progress.

Section 504

If the student you are working with has a diagnosed disability – 504 is one of two (special education being the other) options for providing accommodations.

The main difference between 504 & special education is 504 is meant to level the playing field.

Accommodations are developed to remove barriers to allow students with disabilities to access their education

504 is not supplemental in nature and doesn’t add services or special programs like special education.

504 accommodations are not based on a student’s potential, but rather what an average student in the classroom has access to.

Common 504 accommodations for school avoidant students would be waiving the district’s attendance policy modifying workload.

Special Education

Special education is meant to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.

Mental health disorders are disabilities. The biggest difference between special education and 504, is special education is supplemental in nature and meant to provide individualized support services and programs to students with disabilities.

A referral to special education, instead of 504, might be appropriate if the student you are working with is chronically absent and not accessing their education.

(What does this mean)

Exempting the student from the attendance policy or lessening their workload would not be effective because the student is too far behind and missing large chunks of school. If the student is found eligible for special education, special programs, like a therapeutic school placement or program, could be considered.

Note on Medical documentation:If the student you are working with has a diagnosed medical disability, (mental health disorders are disabilities) always include the treating physician in an I&RS, 504, or special education team meeting.

Having the medical doctor attend helps him understand the educational perspective of the team. Which allows the doctor to become part of the planning process.Sometimes the medical professional is unaware of the extent of the school absences and can be an advocate for supporting a plan to increase regular attendance. Every physician wants to see their patients functioning and accessing their education.

Dear Educators

  • Achieve early interventions for chronic absenteeism
  • Make progress on stalled cases
  • Quicken student returns to school
  • Save money, reduce caseloads
  • Build effective school avoidance strategies
  • Provide Tier 2 & Tier 3 interventions 
  • Use your ESSER funds for reimbursement

We enjoy hearing how you are doing:  what’s working, what needs improvement, or what’s not working. We want to help you help your students back to learning.

Get Help Today with
Exclusive Access to Leading
School Avoidance Experts

Unfortunately only a small percentage of school professionals, therapists, educational advocates and policy makers understand school avoidance best practices. So, you must become the expert to ensure your child is getting:

  • Appropriate mental health treatment
  • School assistance without punitive responses (truancy, failing, grade retention)
  • Educated regardless of their school avoidance
  • A 504 plan or IEP if needed (many school avoidant kids qualify)

The time passing slowly without progress is the worst feeling. It wouldn’t have taken five years of suffering and uncertainty if I had this expert guidance during my son’s school avoidance. We would have saved $29,000 in lawyer fees and $69,000 for private schools.

Providing Information School Avoidance Families Need To Know

This Guide explains; 504 Plans, IEPs, Attendance Policies & More

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