June 13, 2024

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Startup uses behavioral science to combat student absenteeism [Video]

Chronic absenteeism by school students is one of the many problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. EveryDay Labs is a startup looking to boost attendance rates by 10% to 15% districtwide. The company recently announced an $8 million Series A round of financing led by female-only venture capital fund Rethink Impact.

“Even before the pandemic, 1 in 6 students missed 10% or more of school days,” EveryDay Labs CEO Emily Bailard told Yahoo Finance. “Now, since the pandemic, that’s really spiraled, and so we’ve seen those rates double, particularly amongst more vulnerable students and student and disadvantaged students,” she said.

“Forging a real relationship between school staff and families, what we do is we really unite behavioral science and data science to have effective family engagement,” Bailard says. The EveryDay Labs CEO used her daughter Jane as an example of how the platform’s system works to help parents stay on track of their child’s attendance.

“Most parents lose track of absences. If Jane starts missing too much school and is getting off track, I’ll start receiving nudges through snail mail and through texts that help me keep track of Jane’s absences and show me how it compares to her classmates. And then also, really critically, helps me connect to resources to help me address barriers to attendance that we might be facing,” Bailard said.

Bailard tells Yahoo Finance that high school absenteeism is the highest among grade levels. However, the pandemic has made it a pervasive problem for younger kids, which can have severe consequences.

“That’s really concerning because we know that when students miss even just two days of school a month in kindergarten and first grade, they’re far less likely to be proficient readers by the time they get to third grade. So attendance in those early grades is just as critical as in the later ones,” she said.

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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