Solving Chronic Absence:

Information and resources for educators and community coalitions

Models for Reducing Chronic Absence

When schools take the lead for reducing chronic absence...

A School-based Model

With the school-based model, districts and/or schools assume responsibility for reducing chronic absence. The schools may or may not work with community members (e.g., non-profit organizations, human service agencies, businesses). An example of this is the New York City School District. The New York City Principals' Guide, developed by The Children's Aid Society, provides an overview of how this work can be done.

With Schools as the Lead

Many actions can be incorporated into schools' ongoing responsibilities

  • Review SIRS data to determine chronic absence rates within the district, schools, and classrooms.
  • Establish attendance teams responsible for reducing chronic absence.
  • Provide attendance teams access to attendance data and identify students who are chronically absent.
  • Examine school policies and modify policies that contribute to absences unintentionally (e.g., 28 day seat time, suspension, pre-k attendance requirements).
  • Train school staff so they collect attendance consistently across schools in the district, increasing the reliability of attendance data.
  • Build a school culture of attendance and implement a prevention foundation.
  • Use the Student Support Services/Pupil Personnel infrastructure to provide support to chronically absent students and their families.

Some actions not be part of school norms may require a bigger "lift"

  • Requires “will” from school leadership to effectively modify the school climate to support a culture of attendance.
  • The demand for student support services may exceed the school’s supply/budget.
  • Schools will most likely restrict the campaign to the school boundaries since resources for a community-wide campaign are limited.
  • Schools have access to confidential information about students but the underlying reasons for chronic absence may pertain to information not accessible to schools (e.g., family) and may be difficult to access.

Models for Reducing Chronic Absence