Fall 2014
A Note from the Director

Our second Attendance Awareness Month turned out to be more exhilarating than our first one last year.  More than 2,200 people signed up for our listserve. Our webinars attracted over 1,000 attendees.  Our 2014 action map boasts more than 325 posts!


With 645 media hits, press coverage was 4 times higher than last year!   Our research report, Absences Add Up, was especially popular and featured in dozens of news reports from Hawaii to Maine. At least 79 proclamations and resolutions were issued by governors, mayors, school districts and others


All this awareness is leading to action. Policymakers at the state and national levels are paying closer attention to attendance. More and more districts are tracking chronic absence. If you're one of those districts, add yourself to our new District Data Action Map. If you are just getting started or want the newest ideas for action, read about our new PEOPLE strategy, tips for parent-teacher conferences and tools from Perfectly Punctual. Thanks for all you do!


Hedy Chang

Practice Spotlight

New Map Highlights District Data Crunching

Is your school district a pioneer in calculating chronic absence? If so, let us know and help Attendance Works make the case to state and national leaders that districts and communities are joining a growing movement to take action on this urgent issue. We have posted a District Data Action Map. To put your pin on the map, please fill out this form.


Our goal is to find out how many districts across the country are tracking individual student absences - excused and unexcused - and how they are defining chronic absence.  If your school is tracking chronic absence - even though your district is not yet on board  - you can fill out the form, too. We'll include participating schools on an alphabetical listing. Community partners can encourage districts and schools to sign up. 


PEOPLE Strategy Calls for Intervening Now


With the first six weeks of classes behind us, schools and districts have the information they need to identify students who are at highest risk for chronic absence. Our new toolkit, The Power of Positive Connections, provides a step-by-step guide for reaching connecting those at at-risk students to personal relationships and positive support that motivate them to show up to class every day.


It promotes a data-driven strategy to reduce chronic absence known as PEOPLE:

  • Priority: Focuses on students in grades, schools and neighborhoods with high levels of chronic absence
  • Early: Begins with the start of school
  • Outreach: Connects to students and families
  • Positive: Promotes preventive, supportive approaches rather than punitive responses
  • Linkages: Taps the full community for support
  • Engagement: Motivates students and families.

Read More Here


Leverage Parent Teacher Conferences


Do you know that parent-teacher conferences are an ideal time to talk to parents about the importance of regular attendance? Leverage this one-on-one time to update families on their child's attendance and make sure they are aware of programs or school activities that promote attendance.


Since most teachers already hold conferences with parents and families once or twice a year, this approach helps infuse attendance into what teachers do without adding in a new activity. It makes talking about attendance as normal as discussing academic performance and classroom behavior.   


Check out these tips for addressing attendance through parent-teacher conferences. See our Teaching Attendance Toolkit for even more ideas. 

 Perfectly Punctual Targets Early Attendance


Attendance Works has formed a partnership with LearnLead to provide the popular Perfectly Punctual attendance scorecard and Punctual Pete buttons for download at no cost.


For years, the Perfectly Punctual Campaign has supported positive attendance habits, particularly in preschool and kindergarten. It uses punctuality, the good news about attendance, as the impetus for positive reinforcement and playfulness to change hearts, minds and routines.


This two-generation program engages children daily in monitoring their own attendance, honors parents monthly for getting their children to school on time and translates attendance data into management information for school administrators.


Read more here



Policy Spotlight

State School Chiefs Step Up on Absenteeism

Recognizing the corrosive effect that absenteeism has on student achievement, five chief state school officers committed in September to promote solutions that can improve attendance across their states.


The school chiefs from California, Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Utah - who co-chair the Advisory Committee on Eliminating Chronic Absence - asked local superintendents to take on the issue, hosted inter-agency forums and released new research.


The chiefs are working with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which established the panel last year to address a challenge that is undermining student achievement from the early grades through high school.


Read more here 


Research Spotlight

Report Links Absenteeism, Test Scores

A state-by-state analysis of national testing data demonstrates that students who miss more school than their peers consistently score lower on standardized tests, a result that holds true at every age, in every demographic group and in every state and city tested.


The analysis by researcher Alan Ginsburg and Attendance Works, Absences Add Up: How School Attendance Influences Student Success, was based on the results of the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The study found that about one in five students nationwide reported missing 3 or more days of school during the month before taking the NAEP test.


Read more here


Early Attendance Impacts Grit

Absenteeism in kindergarten can affect whether a child develops the grit and perseverance needed to succeed in school, according to a new study by researcher Michael Gottfried at the University of California Santa Barbara. The shows the negative impact of chronic absenteeism on both academic performance and social-emotional skills needed to persist and engage in learning. The effects are particularly pronounced among students who miss four or more weeks of school.


The study, accepted for publication in August 2014 in the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, examines results for kindergarten tests measuring reading and math ability, as well as six social and emotional skills.


Read more here 

About Attendance Works


Attendance Works is a national and state initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success. It aims to ensure that every school in every state not only tracks chronic absence data for its individual students but also partners with families and community agencies to help those children. 


Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Pinterest and like our Facebook page!

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Bringing Attendance Home
Download our new video for school events and parent meetings.

Great Tool for Teachers

The Student Attendance Success Plan is designed to help parents track their children's attendance and work with teachers to set appropriate goals.


Bright Spots

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading featured several communities that are reducing chronic absences as Bright Spot Communities. Read more here.


In the News
Chronic absenteeism can devastate K-12 learning, Education Week, October 8, 2014

Finding the reason behind school absences, The Washington Post, October 3, 2014

Which States' Kids Miss the Most School?, Mother Jones, September 2, 2014

Do you love our online tools, resources, webinars and up-to-date information on attendance research and news? Donate to Attendance Works! 

Your gift is tax deductible and will support forging a national consensus on the need to monitor, report and address the effects of chronic absence. I hope that you will stand with as and support our work as we work to reduce chronic absence and achieve better outcomes for all students. 

Contact Us

For more information contact: [email protected]

Attendance Works would like to express its deep appreciation to the foundations supporting our work nationally and in communities across the country: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The California Endowment, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, Friedman Family Foundation, Long Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, United Way Bay Area, Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation, Thomas J. Long Foundation and the Doug and Maria De Vos Foundation.