California: Advocate for Additional Resources and Improved Policy

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.

Call for your district to provide real-time data to all schools

If your school district doesn’t already provide this information, ask leaders to track chronic absence data and provide it, in real time, to schools.

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 history of poor attendance at another school, as well as information about what supports a student 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, ideally as a component of existing principal meetings.

Encourage district leadership to act on this issue

Encourage your superintendent to join the Call to Action sponsored by seven leading partners of the Attendance Awareness Month campaign.

If your district lacks clear policies and protocols related to attendance, urge the creation of consistent guidance to support the development and implementation of effective practices across schools. In Oakland, for example, the district created and released this Oakland Attendance Manual.

Support improved county and city policies for monitoring chronic absence and allocating resources

Encourage your school board and city council to establish policies and practices for monitoring chronic absence and then using that data to shape programs and inform the allocation of resources for afterschool, early learning and other programs that can help reduce absenteeism. If you experience insufficient backup after all school-level interventions have been exhausted, consider joining with other principals in asking your district or county office of education to improve the functioning of the SARB.

Here are some resources for understanding what policies and practices should be in place:

Learn about current local or state attendance policy and join with other administrators and professional associations

Key resources for learning about attendance policy in California include:

Advocacy in California
  • The Chronic Absence and Attendance Partnership (CAAP) has been the leading advocacy network promoting the chronic absence related events and achievements described on this page. CAAP is led by Attendance Works, Children Now and the Partnership for Children and Youth.

    CAAP works to improve outcomes for students at risk of poor academic performance and dropping out of school. CAAP seeks to raise awareness, promote the collection and use of data on attendance, support the development of early warning systems and promote the use of chronic absence data to help schools and community agencies (including health services, family resource centers, afterschool, and early childhood programs, etc.) coordinate their resources.

Next: C. Take a Team Approach and Develop Staff Capacity

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