Faith Based Groups

Faith communities and schools, despite different missions, share a common goal: whether it’s Friday night, Sunday morning or a regular school day, they all care about preparing children for the future. Local congregations are well positioned to help because you are often the first place families turn to for guidance or parenting. They can:

  • Build public awareness. Join with the local superintendent, mayor and others in a community-wide coalition to reduce chronic absence. See if the community is connected to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
  • Recognize and appreciate good and improved attendance. Support school efforts to recognize students and families who are turning the corner on attendance.
  • Encourage students to attend school regularly: Those who work directly with children, youth and families have opportunities every week to share the connection between regular attendance and academic achievement and help families overcome barriers to good attendance.
  • Talk with parents about absenteeism: Use regular interactions with parents to talk about any problems with attendance and to share why it matters.
  • Volunteer in schools: Encourage congregation members to serve as attendance buddies or mentors for chronically absent students. Help organize events to recognize good and improved attendance and encourage local businesses to donate prizes as attendance incentives.
  • Work with school districts: At the planning table, bring knowledge about the needs and the resources available to help students and families struggling with health, housing or other issues.

Case Statement: Why Chronic Absence Matters for Faith Leaders