Local superintendents are uniquely positioned to lead efforts to reduce chronic absence from preschool through high school and ensure attention to attendance is integrated into a district’s overall approach to engagement and learning.

Addressing chronic absence is a key tool for responding strategically to the instructional loss experienced by millions of students during the pandemic. When classes begin for the 2021-22 school year, most students will have been away from a school setting and a regular school routine for many months. Many students and families continue to be affected by the health and economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Monitoring and supporting attendance during the transition back to school this fall will be critical for Covid-19 recovery and addressing educational inequity.

As a Superintendent you can:

  • Prioritize Student Attendance and Engagement: Make clear that student attendance and engagement are top priorities for ensuring an equal opportunity to learn. Ask your teachers and school leaders to make it one of theirs as well. Designate a senior member of your staff to coordinate efforts across departments and support schools.

  • Mobilize the Community: Reach out to make reducing chronic absence a broadly owned and widely shared civic priority. Enlist parents, civic and elected leaders, local businesses, clergy members and local libraries, museums and service providers in engaging students in learning and identifying and developing solutions to attendance barriers.

  • Drive with Data: Use data to raise public awareness, establish targets and goals, track progress and assure accountability. Consider using this expanded data framework for in-person and remote instruction (contact, connectivity, relationships, prior chronic absence and attendance) for monitoring attendance and opportunity to learn given the challenges of Covid-19.

Tips for Messaging
Media Tools

Consider using or adapting these media tools to help spread the word about your district’s involvement. Use this as an opportunity to build awareness about reducing chronic absence and invite key stakeholders to join local efforts to improve school attendance, starting in the early grades.

  • Consider sending an op-ed to your local media. 

  • Demonstrate the commitment of community partners to make attendance a priority with a joint op-ed.