It is essential to build the skills and knowledge of school staff and community partners to understand what chronic absence is, how it differs from truancy, how to calculate it and which practices promote daily attendance. Many do not know the difference between chronic absence and truancy, or fail to recognize the importance of bolstering our investments in prevention and early intervention before resorting to more expensive legal strategies.
The first step to your students’ success is determining how well your district addresses chronic absence now. Use these tools to identify if your school or district is engaging in the practices known to help improve overall attendance and reduce the numbers of children missing so much school that they are academically at risk. The result should help you determine a plan of action that builds upon strengths, while recognizing the biggest gaps to be addressed to adopt an effective and comprehensive approach.
Create Locally Tailored Toolkits for Schools and Community Partners
Attendance Works has developed a template with handouts, activities, and local resources that can be easily adapted to help schools and local partners reduce absenteeism. These handouts include resources sheets that let parents know where to find help with health, transportation and other barriers keeping their children from attending school regularly. Two California districts, Oakland and Solano County, have adapted Attendance Works materials for local audiences.
- Template toolkit that communities can tailor
- Local toolkit from Oakland
- Web-based toolkit from Solano County
Los Angeles and New York City have developed toolkits to help principals and teachers reduce chronic absence.
New York City developed a toolkit for community and faith-based groups.