Key Ingredients for Systemic Change

Take a Data Driven Systemic Approach

As the graphic below shows, improving attendance is a team not a solo sport and ultimately requires a systemic approach. Our experience working across the country tells us that while attendance improvements can begin in a single classroom or school, the most effective and sustainable approaches are data-driven, and are supported by strong district, school and community leadership. These key ingredients of change support taking a systems approach, and can be applied to district and state-level action and policy – which are ideally working in alignment with each other. 

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Capacity Building

Provide professional development to district and school staff and community partners so they have the skills and knowledge they need to take a data-driven, positive, problem-solving and multi-tiered approach to supporting student attendance, participation and engagement. 

Actionable Data

Collect and report quantitative attendance and chronic absence data and qualitative analysis that can show reasons that students miss school that are accurate, accessible, timely, comprehensive and understandable. These data will inform the development of prevention and intervention strategies and allocation of resources that support student attendance. The data collection is used to activate positive supports, not punitive action. 

Positive Engagement

Create a culture of attendance by taking a positive, not punitive, approach to absenteeism that is centered on belonging and engagement, and help everyone to understand why daily attendance matters in PreK-12th grade.  

Strategic Partnerships

Strengthen and expand partnerships between the district, school and community to provide for a full range of resources and supports to address barriers to attendance. Engage outside partners that can support building relationships and engaging students and families in identifying and addressing attendance barriers. 

Adequate, Equitable Resources

Resources and funding are sufficient to ensure students, from all backgrounds and circumstances, receive a quality education and similar opportunities to thrive and achieve in school, career and college.

Shared Accountability

Absenteeism is a cross-cutting issue and cannot be solved by any one person, department or agency. Create systems and cross-departmental and infrastructure support for attendance, and hold stakeholders – students, families, educators, agencies and community partners – responsible for helping to reduce chronic absence.