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