Superintendents and School Boards can lead districts and communities in monitoring chronic absence and intervening with students headed off track.

Superintendents can sign up for the Call to Action on Attendance sponsored by Attendance Works and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. They can:

  • Own the Issue:  Make clear that improved student attendance is one of your top priorities.
  • Mobilize the Community:  Reach out to make improved student attendance a broadly owned and widely shared civic priority
  • Drive with Data:  Use data to raise public awareness, establish targets and goals, track progress and assure accountability.

School Board members can ask for better tracking and reporting of chronic absence data, invest in capacity building of staff to analyze the data and engage in best practices, set district goals with accountability, and engage community partners. With these steps, it is possible to reduce chronic absence by 20 percent from baseline in the first year. This will have a significant impact on third grade reading, narrowing the achievement gaps, and increasing graduation rates.

School Board members should review these Frequently Asked Questions about their role in reducing chronic absence.

For Attendance Awareness Month, superintendents and school board members can:

1. Issue a proclamation that September is Attendance Awareness Month or submit an op-ed

2. Partner with an existing coalition with an aligned mission to help spearhead a community-wide approach to reducing chronic absence. If such a coalition doesn’t exist, form one!

3. Encourage schools to develop attendance teams to monitor students who are chronically absent

4. Crunch chronic absence data district-wide to identify the schools, neighborhoods and grades where absenteeism is a particular problem

5. Ensure that chronic absence data is included in monthly information shared with principals and into your metrics for school performance.

6. Share strategies for improving attendance in professional development sessions with teachers.

If you have suggestions or improvements to the list, please send them to lauren@attendanceworks.org