Mayors and elected leaders are especially well-positioned to advance a chronic absence agenda because they can use the bully pulpit for rallying support around a common concern. In addition, city governments are typically deeply involved in an array of supports and services such as public safety, early childhood programs and community health clinics that can address issues that often pose significant barriers to school attendance.

Are you trying to persuade your mayor or elected leaders to get involved? Use this Making the Case handout.

Using the tools on the Attendance Works website, city leaders can partner with school districts using these strategies:

  • Share and monitor chronic absence data
  • Make student attendance a community priority
  • Nurture a culture of attendance
  • Identify and address barriers to school attendance
  • Advocate for stronger policies and public investment

Ideas for Attendance Awareness Month include:

1. Issue a proclamation declaring that September is Attendance Awareness Month

2. Write an op-ed or pitch a story to the local media about the importance of school attendance

3. Partner with the schools superintendent and possibly philanthropy to encourage an appropriate existing coalition to spearhead a community-wide approach to reducing chronic absence. If such a coalition doesn’t exist, form one!

4. Align government agencies—including health, transit and police departments—to address barriers to chronic absence.

5. Use chronic absence data to target resources to particular schools or neighborhoods. Ask organizations receiving city money to demonstrate how they are addressing absenteeism.