Utah’s journey to reduce chronic absence illustrates how interest that begins with one sector—in this case, the afterschool community—can expand to a range of key stakeholders and ultimately spur statewide awareness and interest in reducing chronic absence.
REL West released this 19-minute video to help schools and districts understand that chronic absenteeism is a problem they can address. Educators at three Utah schools —Guadalupe School, South Hills Middle School, and Highland High School— share how they have boosted attendance through:
- Building a schoolwide culture of good attendance,
- Using data to identify and monitor at-risk students, and
- Personalizing outreach and support to these students.
The video has a brief discussion guide and links to resources available here.
Mapping the Gap: Mapping the Early Attendance Gap: Charting A Course for School Success, released by Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign in September 2015, encourages states to dig deep into their attendance data and determine the who, what, when, where and why of their chronic absence problem. Read the in-depth state profiles for California, Rhode Island, and Utah.
Voices for Utah Children: In 2014, the statewide policy and advocate group released a brief detailing how policies affecting parents and children can influence school attendance
University of Utah Education Policy Center: In 2012, researchers released a brief to highlight their important findings on chronic absence and its effects in Utah. The study of five years of attendance data emphasizes the need for early identification of students who are chronically absent, and identified chronic absenteeism as a key predictor of dropouts as early as the eighth grade.
Even before the statewide research was published, several local districts began using their own data to examine if chronic absence was a problem and to work with partners to find solutions.