Fall 2017
A Note from the Executive Director
Over Two-Thirds of States Adopt Chronic Absence Metric

We've just wrapped up our fifth Attendance Awareness Month and we were thrilled by the level of activity at the school, district, community and state levels! Important attendance campaigns were launched and websites unveiled in Connecticut and Oregon. More than 600 Superintendents included chronic absence in September messages, more than 8,000 people signed up for our webinars and over 9,000 received our weekly newsletters.
All this awareness has led to action. Policymakers at the state and national levels are paying closer attention to attendance. By Sept. 18, 36 states and the District of Columbia had included chronic absence as a school accountability metric in their plans for implementing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Chronic absence is an ideal early warning indicator that a student is heading off track academically. We're delighted to see that support for attendance is both bipartisan and strong throughout the country. Join us as we continue to support states, districts, schools and communities as they put in place attendance-focused programs to ensure students succeed in school and in life.

Best wishes,

Hedy N. Chang
Executive Director, Attendance Works

Policy Spotlight

The count is in: 36 states plus the D.C. submitted ESSA state plans with chronic absence as an accountability metric to the Education Department. FutureEd, a think-tank at Georgetown University, examined the plans and found that 27 states defined chronic absence as missing 10 percent or more school days. Three states will use the threshold of missing a set number of days, while two included other attendance measures. The report draws on the analysis by Attendance Works and the Everyone Graduates Center of the number of schools in the U.S. that have extreme and high levels of chronic absenteeism. Get the report here.
FutureEd hosted a panel discussion about Chronic Absence and ESSA with Hedy Chang, Robert Balfanz with Everyone Graduates Center and Kirsten Carr with the Council of Chief State School Officers. View the event recording here.

Education Week published our op-ed,  We Can Fix Chronic Absenteeism:  ESSA brings both changes and opportunities to how districts handle attendance Read it  here! 
Practice Spotlight

Attendance Awareness Month 2017 Participation Expands

From the first day of September until the last, Attendance Awareness Month drew an extraordinary response from schools and communities across the country. They taped videos, held rallies, issued proclamations, hi-fived students and, of course, calculated their chronic absenteeism data.
Here are a few of the metrics we've gathered:
  • 8,128 people registered for one of our Attendance Webinars
  • 9,617+ people have signed up for our newsletters.
  • 616+ Superintendents in 42 states, plus DC pinned our Superintendents Map, a boost from 571 in 2016.
  • 10 attendance awareness updates emailed (Go here to see them all)
  • 1,700+ news stories and blog posts featured attendance issues or Attendance Awareness Month in August and September.
  • 8,304+ tweets featured the #schooleveryday hashtag in September alone, generating 17.6 million impressions, up from 15.8 last year.
  • 7,156 downloaded the Brief, "Portraits of Change."
  • 5,000+ downloads of Teaching Attendance 2.0 toolkit
  • Read more metrics here.

Call to Action Enlists 616+ Superintendents

More than 616 superintendents across the country have committed to emphasize the importance of school attendance this fall and drive with data to reduce chronic absenteeism. The nationwide Call to Action for superintendents includes leaders from some of the nation's largest and smallest districts. The full list was featured in an ad in the Sept. 20 edition of Education Week. The Call to Action, sponsored by the Attendance Awareness Month partners, gives superintendents access to tools, expert advice and peer learning opportunities. Superintendents can join the Call to Action on the Attendance Works website.

Help Us Improve the Attendance Awareness Campaign!

As we wrap-up our fifth AAM we are interested to know what you think about what worked this year, and what might be improved. We're asking all AAM participants to take a few minutes and complete a short survey. Please finish the survey by November 6. You can find the survey here.

Reports for Preschool

Attendance Works is pleased to announce that chronic absence reports for early childhood programs are now available! ChildPlus and with COPA, two leading data management systems for Head Start and other early childhood programs, added data that would help programs respond to the new Head Start performance standards that require programs to monitor and address chronic absence. The reports follow formats available in the Attendance Works' Preschool Attendance Tracking Tool (available in Excel). Attendance Works shared information about the new data reports and how they can be used to take action to improve attendance at the ChildPlus Scramble in Las Vegas. Find out more in our blog, and download the power point presentation.
Research Spotlight
September brought an abundance of research analyzing chronic absence at the state and community levels, providing policymakers and educators with the data needed to drive attendance initiatives.

Amber Humm Brundage and Jose Castillo at the University of South Florida found that students in grades 6-12 named health, transportation and personal stress-related issues as the top three reasons they don't come to class. The research, Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism Among Secondary Students, surveyed 5,790 chronically absent from eight states and 91 schools. The results also found that students, their families, educators and communities don't fully understand how many absences can put a student at risk academically. Read more in our blog.

Philip Cook, at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy published a study shows that teacher home visits and cell phone use reduced absenteeism in 1st and 2nd grade by an average of 10 percent. Called the Early Truancy Prevention Project, the program was designed to boost attendance by facilitating communication between teachers and parents. The teachers reported that they didn't feel burdened by the program. Find the full study.

Michael A. Gottfried of the University of California Santa Barbara published a study showing that students in grades K-5 who were chronically absent in the fall were 48 percent more likely to be chronic absentees in the spring. The study, Does Truancy Beget Truancy? Evidence from Elementary School, published in Elementary School Journal, also found that fall tardies predict more spring tardies. Find the paper here.

Rand Corporation released a report analyzing the progress of New York Community Schools Initiative (NYC-CS), and find that 78 percent of the schools paired a- risk students with mentors to address chronic absence. The report takes stock of the implementation of the by analyzing data from the first two full years of program implementation. Download the report.
Support Attendance Works
A special thank you to those who have included Attendance Works in their charitable contributions helping us to provide Attendance Awareness Month materials and other toolkits free of charge. If you haven't had a chance, you can donate now by clicking:

Supporter :

Bronze Attendance Champion:
Silver Attendance Champion: $500-$999

Gold Attendance Champion:
$1,000 or more

News Highlights
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. We aim 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 like our Facebook page!

Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter    
Contact Us

For more information contact:  info@attendanceworks.org