The #1 Curriculum and Assessment Partner for Educators

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 academic 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 schools and districts are focusing on combatting chronic absenteeism following disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 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:

  • Pre-pandemic, more than 8 million students are missing so many days of school that they are academically at risk
  • Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, early data shows that chronic absence (missing 10% or more of school) is likely to have dramatically increased, potentially doubling in size from one out of six to one out of three students
  • 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 aid you and your team.

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.

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 work best and build the support needed to do more in the following school year.

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 read 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.

This blog was origibally published September 2018 by Brita Hammer and has been updated.