City and County Officials

City and county leaders are well positioned to bring together school and community resources and improve school attendance.  They can:

  • Get, share and monitor chronic absence data: Without the right information, city leaders often don’t know whether they have an attendance problem or how best to address it. Leaders should encourage school districts to look at how many students, starting in kindergarten, are missing 10 percent or more of school days.
  • Make attendance a community priority: City and county agencies, volunteer organizations, church groups, foundations and parents can all help schools improve attendance. Mayors, in particular, are well positioned to establish task forces and rally support.
  • Partner with school and city-funded agencies to nurture a “culture of attendance:” Local government leaders can use make the case for improving school attendance; use preschool and afterschool resources to promote good school attendance and encourage business and nonprofits to support incentives and mentoring programs.
  • Identify and address barriers to attendance: City and county resources, from social service agencies to transit authorities, can help break down barriers that are keeping children from coming to school.
  • Advocate for stronger policies and public investments: Local officials can lead the charge in pushing for policies that would adopt a standard definition of chronic absence, increase reporting requirement and establish attendance teams.
Case Statement: Why Chronic Absence Matters for Mayors and City Leaders
Handout: 10 Steps Communities Can Take to Reduce Chronic Absence