As a trusted school leader, you can recommend changes in policy and allocation of resources that will make it easier to improve chronic absence. From the School Board to the State House, there are policy and budget levers at every level of government.
1. Call for your district to provide real-time data to all schools
Ask your school district to track chronic absence data and provide data in real time to schools.
2. Advocate coordination and sharing of best practices across schools
Call for opportunities to meet and coordinate attendance policies and practices with the other school administrators in your district, especially those who serve the same neighborhoods or a particular feeder pattern. Make sure that schools have information about incoming students with a prior history of poor attendance from another school in the vicinity, as well as information about what supports they might have already received.
Use this as an opportunity to identify common attendance challenges that might require a coordinated response across the schools in your area. Encourage your district to create regular opportunities for principals to share best practices with each other, ideally as a component of existing principal meetings.
3. Encourage district leadership to act on this issue
Encourage your Superintendent to join the Call to Action created by Attendance Works and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
If your district lacks clear policies and protocols related to attendance, support the creation of consistent guidance to support the development and implementation of effective practices across schools. In Oakland, California, for example, the district created and released this Oakland Attendance Manual
4. Support using chronic absence to allocate resources
Encourage your School Board and your City Council to use chronic absence in decisions about allocating resources for afterschool, early learning and other programs that can help reduce absenteeism.
- Frequently Asked Questions for School Boards
- 10 Steps Communities Can Take to Reduce Chronic Absence
5. Learn about current local or state attendance policy and join with other administrators and professional associations to advocate for better policy.
Research policies and determine whether your district and state have systemic barriers to good attendance. Ask state legislators to support policies that increase tracking and reporting of chronic absence statewide and to use in accountability metrics and in allocation of resources.