• Erica Peterson

Four Actions to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism


4 reasons why to put the work into reducing chronic absenteeism

Students are considered chronically absent when they miss 10% of the days they are enrolled. Chronically absent students are at a greater risk for a number of negative long-term consequences, such as being more likely to experience poverty, diminished mental and physical health, and involvement in the criminal justice system as an adult. By identifying children who are missing large portions of school, LEAs can direct resources strategically and provide appropriate interventions that help students get back in school and on track for learning.


Four actions to reduce chronic absenteeism:

  1. Build awareness—Many parents don’t understand the consequences of poor attendance. Attendance campaigns should go through all school communication channels, e.g. newsletters, social media, parent portals, and so on. Make it fun! Poster contests, traveling trophies for the class or school with the best attendance for the week, etc.

  2. Use data to inform action—Attendance data is a leading indicator and one of the first markers of student disengagement. Ongoing absences are an early, reliable indicator of future course failure.

  3. Engage and recognize success—Nurture parent and student relationships with positive feedback that finds the win. Encourage, recognize, and celebrate students with good or improved attendance and parents that supported students going to school.

  4. Take action early—Use a systems approach to ensure attendance is monitored, students with poor attendance are identified early and frequent support is provided to them. It will take more than one touch-point with families to discover, support, and resolve the underlying challenges.

School Districts must implement a comprehensive and ongoing attendance improvement program that helps to reinstate the understanding of the value of good attendance and the direct correlation of attendance being the gateway to academic attainment.