Our relationship with Attendance Works has been instrumental in our collective work on attendance, not only in Kent County, but across Michigan. Our research, messaging, policy and practice, strategies, and commitment to school attendance would not be where it is today without our long-standing relationship with Attendance Works."
— Carol Paine-McGovern, Executive Director, Kent School Services Network – A Community School Coalition
Mission Statement

Our mission is to advance student success and help close equity gaps by reducing chronic absence.

Broadly defined, chronic absence is missing so much school for any reason that a student is at risk of not reading in the early grades, lower achievement in middle school and dropping out of high school. Chronic absence data is best used for positive problem solving and early intervention rather than punitive action.

As a National and State Initiative, Our Vision is Two-Pronged:
  • Better federal, state and local policy and practices around school attendance.
  • Every school district in the country not only tracks chronic absence data beginning in kindergarten— or earlier— but also partners with families and community agencies to intervene as soon as poor attendance becomes a problem for children or particular schools.
Whether education takes place in a building or through distance learning, our objectives are to:
  • Build public awareness and political will about the need -- and our ability -- to take action to ensure students are in class, or participating online, so they can learn. This includes extensive media outreach, as well as working with key national organizations, to spread the word about why attendance matters and to explore the role policymakers, at every level, can play. It also includes explaining the critical difference between chronic absence and truancy, which only refers to unexcused absences.

  • Foster state campaigns and partnerships by developing coalitions to advance state and local policies that promote tracking attendance for individual students, and reporting on chronic absence to ensure schools, especially if they are low-performing, will intervene to improve student attendance. We also sponsor the national Attendance Awareness Campaign which began in 2012.

  • Encourage local practice by providing technical assistance and tools to help communities, schools and school districts take a data driven approach to partnering with students and families to improve attendance and engagement. This includes creating peer-learning networks and using our website to provide access to a variety of free tools and resources to over 450,000 visitors each year. Learn more about how you can access our technical assistance.

Governing magazine featured Attendance Works' Hedy Chang and the growing awareness of chronic absenteeism in a 2021 feature article, Chronic Absenteeism Is a Huge School Problem. Can Data Help? Read the article.