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Attendance Awareness Month: Resources to Fight Chronic Absenteeism

Attendance Awareness Month: Resources to Fight Chronic Absenteeism

September is Attendance Awareness Month, and as schools gear up for the new school year, it’s a great time to double down on attendance policies to help build good habits for students from the very beginning. While many states are focusing on combatting chronic absenteeism as a part of their ESSA plans, it’s important for administrators to be armed with the resources necessary to create a plan of attack.

At this point, we all know that school attendance matters. To further underline that point, here are a few fast facts about chronic absenteeism, all from Attendance Works:

  • More than 8 million students are missing so many days of school that they are academically at risk
  • Missing 10 percent or more of school days due to absence for any reason—excused absences, unexcused absences, and suspensions—can translate into 3rd graders being unable to master reading, 6th graders failing subjects, and 9th graders dropping out of high school
  • Children living in poverty are two to three times more likely to be chronically absent
  • For some students, barriers such as lack of a nearby school bus, a safe route to school, or food insecurity make it difficult to go to school every day
  • In many cases, chronic absence goes unnoticed because schools are counting how many students show up every day rather than examining how many and which students miss so much school that they are falling behind

To help you in the planning process, we’ve gathered a few valuable resources to educate and aide you and your team.

Blog Post: How Chronic Absenteeism Affects Student Achievement

When absences become a pattern, the negative impacts quickly add up. It may not seem like a big deal if a student is missing just one or two days of school a month, but over time, those days of lost learning can lead to years of academic struggles, as well as challenges beyond the classroom. In this blog post, you’ll learn more about what chronic absenteeism is, why it matters, who it impacts, how it is measured in schools, and what is being done to break the cycle.

Table: Chronic Absenteeism and the Fifth Indicator in State ESSA Plans

For the U.S. Department of Education deadline of September 18, 2017, 36 states plus the District of Columbia submitted ESSA state plans that address chronic absence. Check out this table to see what your state is doing to fight chronic absenteeism.

Blog Post: 5 Ways Districts Are Fighting Chronic Absenteeism

The focus on improving attendance rates for students who are chronically absent is certainly a concern across the nation, and it’s important to recognize the current efforts being made to fix this. This post offers some ways that educators can fight against chronic absenteeism and support students based on what is working for other schools and districts.

Resource: Count Us In! Toolkit

This toolkit is designed to help you plan and enlist stakeholders who can help get the message out about attendance awareness. Schools, communities, and organizations can choose which options in the toolkit that work best and build the support needed to do more in the following year

Blog Post: The Consequences of Suspension and What Schools Can Do Instead

School suspension and chronic absenteeism are two issues that have a lot in common: they both keep students away from regular learning time and can negatively impact academic development. In this blog post, you’ll learn more about the negative consequences of out-of-school suspension and what states are doing to prevent misbehavior by exploring alternative options.

Your school or district doesn’t have to become another negative statistic when it comes to school attendance. Instead, start now to foster positive attendance behaviors so that chronic absenteeism becomes a thing of the past.