Attendance Awareness Campaign Update

A project led by Attendance Works

October 6, 2022

Positive, Problem-Solving Approach All Year Round!

It’s tempting to respond to chronic absenteeism and increased behavior problems among students with punishment. A growing body of research has found that this approach is not effective. 

Instead, districts and schools can help educators to understand what draws students to school and the causes of their students’ absences, and then help them improve attendance with proactive, positive, problem-solving strategies. Read our post, The Urgent Need to Avoid Punitive Responses to Poor Attendance

Where to start? We recommend a tiered approach that starts with foundational supports, or practices for the whole school. These are followed by prevention-oriented supports for attendance (Tier 1), early intervention (Tier 2), and intensive intervention (Tier 3).

We’ve come to the end of this year’s AAC webinar series! The webinars  a trove of best practices from districts, schools and states throughout the country  are available on our website. Consider viewing with a team to learn strategies that have worked to improve student engagement and attendance.

Please give us feedback on this year's Attendance Awareness Campaign and offer ideas for how we can improve. Watch your emails for our short survey!

Donate now

Join the movement to get more kids back in school and engaged. Our ability to provide free resources depends on contributions from people like you. Donate today.

Hedy Chang, Executive Director
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Attendance Tools

Use the District and School Planning Calendars for PreK–12th grade as a tool for planning activities and events that will keep a focus on improving attendance all year long. You can customize the attendance plan for your community.

Finding the right intervention to address an attendance barrier is key to improving attendance. One software company’s online platform can help. Check out our blog post

Exceptionally high levels of chronic absence reflect educational and societal inequities that existed before Covid-19 and often have been intensified during the pandemic. In a new blog published by the Learning Policy Institute, Attendance Works describes effective strategies for improving engagement and attendance. 

EveryDay Labs’ Back to School Toolkit: Reestablishing a Culture of Attendance and Engagement, offers strategies, tips and printable checklists.

National Data

Recent data show alarming increases in chronic absence across the country. At least 10.1 million students were chronically absent during the first full year of the Covid-19 pandemic (2020-21), according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. A closer look suggests this is an undercount. Emerging data from a handful of states suggests chronic absence doubled by the end of the 2021-22 school year. Read more on our blog

Attendance Awareness Celebrations!

Mayor Tim Monceaux, of Crowley, LA signed a proclamation, committing to focus on reducing chronic absenteeism to give all children an equitable opportunity to learn, grow and thrive academically, emotionally and socially.  

The District School Board of Indian River County, FL signed a proclamation designating September as “Attendance Awareness Month,” and urging the community to focus on reducing chronic absenteeism to give all children an equitable opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.

Research Spotlight

Researchers Michael Gottfried and J. Jacob Kirksey examined administrative data provided by a California high school district for the school years 2014 to 2018. They found that student–teacher race and ethnicity matches were associated with fewer unexcused absences for Latinx students. Find Do High School Students With a Same-Race Teacher Attend Class More Often?


Join us on Oct. 18, 12 PT/3 ET for a special webinar co-sponsored by Attendance Works and the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, which will explore how housing agencies can partner with schools and families to promote regular attendance routines, engagement in learning and access to instruction. Register for Beyond Bricks & Mortar: How Housing Agencies Can Support Showing Up to School

Partner Spotlight

America’s Promise Alliance brings the country’s most inspiring youth-supporting organizations and leaders together in authentic community with a shared commitment of radical support and collaboration. We focus on strengthening our organizations and creating powerful coalitions in pursuit of collective action. Together, we reimagine the systems impacting young people and work to create a more just America that empowers every next generation to lead our country forward.

United Way Worldwide is engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide. We bring people and organizations from all sectors of society together to improve EDUCATION, INCOME AND HEALTH, the building blocks for a better life and stronger community.

Corporate Sponsors

Thank you AAC 2022 Corporate Sponsors! Their support helps to make it possible for us to offer – at no charge webinars and resources that equip everyone to improve student engagement and attendance.

Attendance in the News

PROOF POINTS: A third of public school children were chronically absent after classrooms re-opened, advocacy group says, Hechinger Report, October 3, 2022

Student absenteeism skyrocketed in the pandemic as test scores plunged, Washington Post, September 29, 2022

Come to Class, Win a Toyota: Districts Launch Campaigns to Boost Attendance, The74, September 28,2022

Nearly 90% of kids at one S.F. school were chronically absent last year, San Francisco Chronicle, September 23, 2022

‘We’re here to help’: Baltimore City Public School staff hope phone bank will return absent students to class, Baltimore Sun, September 25, 2022

Sample Tweet

Attendance Awareness Month is over, but efforts to engage students and families and teamwork to address barriers to attending or participating in school should continue throughout the SY! Together we can reduce #chronicabsence! #WholeChild

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 promote equal opportunities to learn and advance student success by reducing chronic absence. Find free downloadable resources, research, consulting services and more on our website:

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