Attendance Awareness Campaign Update
A project led by Attendance Works
October 15, 2020
Encouraging Attendance Throughout the Year!

We are in awe of the teachers, leaders, students and families who have made it through a very challenging return to school. While schools and districts continue to think through the most effective way to provide lessons during Covid-19, we want to remind everyone that steps to promote attendance and engagement shouldn’t stop after the first month of school. Here are some suggestions for maintaining momentum:

  • Successful efforts to improve attendance are woven into school and district-wide plans. Our new Guide to Planning Transitions to School during the pandemic describes how districts and schools can use the Five Key Ingredients to gather together diverse teams to develop or strengthen locally tailored plans that improve attendance and engagement while addressing racial inequities. Find the guide.

Our work with schools, districts and states is helping educators and their partners think strategically about how they can effectively support students and families during Covid-19, and what they should have in place over time, to improve attendance, educational equity and student achievement. Donate here.
  • Stay tuned for our updated Handouts for Families to help send the message that attendance matters regardless of whether school is in person or a blend. 

  • Our three Attendance Awareness Campaign webinars offer promising strategies being used in districts, schools and with communities that are engaging students and families and resulting in strong attendance, whether teaching is virtual, in-person or a blend. We’ve posted the presentation slides and link to the event recording for all three webinars on our website.  

  • The Cleveland Browns Foundation Get2School! Stay in the Game attendance program has updated materials to respond to remote and in-person learning during the pandemic. Download videos and recorded phone messages made by Cleveland Brown players that encourage students and families in Ohio to “Stay in the Game” despite the difficulties we are facing today. Find the resources

  • Nonprofit HOME WORKS! CEO Karen Kalish asked one question when schools in St. Louis, MO switched to remote learning, "How could we stay true to our mission and vision if children and parents don’t have what they need to participate in their education?" Read how HOME WORKS partnered with school staff and community volunteers to improve connectivity and attendance. Read our blog post.
AAC Survey!

Please give us feedback on this year's Attendance Awareness Campaign and offer ideas for how we can improve. Our short survey will just take 5 minutes to complete. Fill in your contact information and enter a drawing to win one of two $50 gift cards. Find the survey here.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s Attendance Awareness Month campaign. We will share metrics about participation in our next quarterly newsletter.  
Attendance Tools
The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, Florida created a new music video by Tampa Bay Rap Artist Corey Thornton. The video, Reaching 4 the Stars, encourages students to be present, engaged, and supported for positive school attendance! Find the video.
The Data Quality Campaign’s new resource highlights real examples of districts and state developed data portals for parents. Every student information system (SIS) is capable of providing parent access, and parents have been asking for it. Learn more in Education Leaders Must Not Be Data Gatekeepers: Parent Portals Are a Key COVID-19 Recovery Strategy.
Pre-Covid-19, the nation’s high school graduation rate was at an all-time high. Now according to a new report from the GradNation campaign, there is a need for the nation to 'find ways to build upon the gains of the past decade by focusing on the states, districts, and high schools where the challenges are the most acute'. Download Building A Grad Nation 2020: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates.

Add to Attendance Works resources for Covid-19: Have you adapted attendance strategies for virtual or remote learning aligned with your local, district or state guidance? Please email and share your innovation with us at
Research News

A webinar hosted in partnership with the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota and the be@school truancy prevention program in Hennepin County, Minnesota, presents an analysis of attendance data from public schools in Ramsey County, MN and shows how current truancy policies disproportionately penalize students of color. The webinar also describes potential reforms. The Spencer Foundation funded the research. View Inequitable Absenteeism Policies: Causes, Consequences and Strategies for Reform.

An evaluation of six large CORE school districts in California suggests that if students missed more than a few weeks of instruction which is likely, particularly among low-income and other disadvantaged students their test scores and social, emotional learning (SEL) outcomes are likely to be badly affected. Find The Effects of Absenteeism on Academic and Social-Emotional Outcomes: Lessons for COVID-19.
Policy News

Community school strategies have emerged as a promising approach to address the social and learning impacts of Covid-19. A policy brief published by PACE explains how the responses of educators and school leaders to the Covid-19 crisis might serve as key investments in successful and sustainable community schools. Read Community Schools, a Covid-19 Recovery Strategy

Thanks to the 4,700+ who registered for our September 30, 2020 webinar! Find the presentation slides and link to the event recording of all three AAC webinars on our website.
  • Every Learning Opportunity Matters: Promising Strategies to Help Students Show Up, September 30, 2020 (Download a discussion guide for this webinar!)
  • Creating an Engaging and Restorative Environment to Support Transitions to School, August 19, 2020
  • Data + Relationships to Support Transitions to School, July 22, 2020

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s Sept. 29, 2020 webinar, Promising High-Tech/High-Touch Solutions for Back to School, featured superintendents who shared new approaches to ensure that the most vulnerable children get the access they need to address unfinished learning and stay on track during Covid-19. The superintendents talked about their districts' response to the alarming drop in kindergarten enrollment that is happening nationwide. Register for free on CGLR's CLIP to view the webinar.
Attendance Works in the News

Many reporters print, radio, video and podcast for local and national audiences have recently interviewed us about attendance during the pandemic. Here are a few:

Missing students: Educators knock on doors to find them, Christian Science Monitor, October 1, 2020

Covering Student Absenteeism in the COVID-19 Era, Education Writers Association, October 2, 2020

Spread the Word!

Sample Tweets

This year in particular, monitoring attendance and active student engagement will need to take multiple forms and reflect the mode of instruction. Find @attendancworks new attendance metrics: #SchoolEveryDay

Preschoolers who miss too much school don’t develop reading, math & social skills as quickly as their peers. #SchoolEveryDay 
Campaign Convening Partners
See the full list of Attendance Awareness Partners here.
Attendance Works is a non-profit, national and state initiative. Our mission is to advance student success and reduce equity gaps by addressing chronic absence. Find free downloadable resources, research, consulting services and more on our website:

For more information contact:
Copyright © 2020 Attendance Works, All rights reserved