Spring 2023, No. 1
A Note from the Executive Director
Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages
Chronic absence numbers are still very high in districts across the U.S. While the attendance “return to normal” that many anticipated hasn’t happened this school year, I am grateful that so many of you are taking a long-term approach and recognizing that developing positive conditions for learning is more important than ever.

As schools develop their improvement plans for the next year, they can take stock of chronic absence levels and identify which students are most affected. Schools and community partners can use data to understand what the challenges are — inside and outside of school — that make showing up to class difficult.

I was honored to be the featured guest on the Designing Education podcast. Robert Balfanz, director of the Everyone Graduates Center, and I discussed the need for intentional strategies to reengage students and families and improve attendance, and how today’s staggering chronic absenteeism is exacerbating educational inequities. Listen to Chronic Absenteeism and Keys to Reengaging Students.  

We will kick off the 2023 Attendance Awareness Campaign during our webinar on March 30 at 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET. Stay tuned for more details. This year’s slogan, Showing Up Together! will highlight the awesome power of partnerships between communities, schools, students and families to build long-term plans to address today’s unusually high levels of absenteeism.


Hedy N. Chang
Founder and Executive Director
Your participation makes a difference! Our ability to provide free resources and tools, webinars, technical assistance and guidance depends on contributions from people like you. Donate to Attendance Works here!
News Highlights
Resource Spotlight
Data shows that boys and young men of color, regardless of socio-economic background, are disproportionately at risk throughout the journey from their youngest years to college and career. Two resources from the nonprofit MENTOR are designed for mentors who are supporting students of color. Find the Guide to Mentoring Boys and Young Men of Color, and Supporting Youth in the Wake of Trauma.

Attendance teams organize and facilitate a strategy and ensure it is a key part of the plan to improve outcomes for all students. We’ve updated short “How To” guides for school and district-level teams describing five key functions, a list describing possible team members, a sample team meeting agenda and more. Find and download the guidance.
State Intervention Spotlight
Home visits improved student attendance rates by approximately 4 percentage points overall in the month following the visit, according to an analysis of a program implemented in Connecticut during the pandemic. Nine months after the visit, PreK-5 students experienced approximately an 8 percentage point increase in attendance, and students in grades 6-12 experienced approximately a 16 percentage point increase. Attendance Works helped to design the home visiting program.
We are collaborating with California Department of Education to offer webinars that share proven strategies to support schools, students and families in the effort to improve attendance. Check Facebook to view the recording of the first webinar held on Jan. 18. 
New Research
A new study, School-Based Healthcare and Absenteeism: Evidence from Telemedicine, looks at school-based telemedicine clinic access in schools in rural North Carolina, and finds that access reduces the likelihood that a student is chronically absent by 2.5 percentage points (29%) and reduces the number of days absent by about 0.8 days (10%).

A study looking at data in Boston found that children who attended preschool had fewer behavioral issues later on, including less absenteeism, fewer suspensions and fewer legal-system problems. Find The Long-Term Effects of Universal Preschool in Boston.
There is still time to register for the Feb. 14 webinar, Creating Environments and Conditions for Thriving Kindergartners, co-sponsored by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and New America. Attendance Works’ Hedy Chang and other presenters will discuss how to support families in building the habit of consistent attendance, explore the connections between reading and music, and the power of learning outdoors. Register.

Join us on Feb. 17, 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET for the first of a six-part webinar series, Equity-Driven Strategies for Addressing Chronic Absence, co-sponsored by WestEd. In this session panelists will explore examples of disaggregated chronic absence data that help participants see where systemic issues are having a disproportionate impact on specific student groups. Register.
Professional Development
Attendance Works also offers fee-based, high quality consulting services tailored to individual state agencies, school districts and schools, in addition to free resources and strategies. For more information email cecelia@attendanceworks.org or check our website.
Attendance Works would like to express its deep appreciation to the foundations that are currently funding our work nationally and in communities across the country: Abell Foundation, The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Heising-Simons Foundation, The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Open Society Institute–Baltimore, Stuart Foundation, United Way of Treasure Valley.