Spring 2023, No. 2
A Note from the Executive Director

With very high levels of absenteeism still occurring, creating opportunities to talk with students and families is essential for improving engagement and attendance. I’m grateful to National Public Radio for elevating this unfortunate reality and ways to address it on All Things Considered.

Family and student perspectives are essential to making sure that strategies are tailored to the school community. Qualitative tools can be used to gather these perspectives and offer insight into factors affecting attendance. Check out our new website page.

An analysis by the Kansas Department of Education found that districts and schools with higher ratings on family engagement surveys had lower percentages of students who were chronically absent. As chronic absenteeism decreased, academic performance increased.

Family and student engagement are essential to every level of a tiered approach. When it is built into the daily operations of a school, it promotes positive conditions for learning, especially a sense of safety and belonging. Tier 1 strategies, such as family communication, encourage better attendance for all students and can prevent absenteeism before it affects achievement. Respectful caring conversations with students and families are essential to partnering with those needing Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.

Wishing you a wonderful spring break!


Hedy Chang
Founder and Executive Director
Resource Spotlight
In the weeks before and after a school’s spring break, drops in attendance are common. Communicate the importance of showing up to school by sending a letter home or planning an activity to counter that trend. Find updated resources to address the Spring Slump.

Teachers can use parent-teacher conference meetings to help establish and maintain two-way communication with families/caregivers. Find the revised Making the Most of Your Parent Teacher Conference – A Step by Step Guide on this website page.

Attendance teams are essential to the work designed to improve outcomes for all students. Find new “How To” guides for school and district-level teams on this website page.
Policy News
We teamed up with The Education Trust, a nonprofit organization committed to improving equity in education, to create 5 Things for Advocates to Know About Chronic Absenteeism. We’ve included action steps for advocates at the local and state level.
New Research
Participation in community schools, or public schools that provide services and support tailored for the local neighborhood, can result in reduced chronic absenteeism and improved achievement. The findings are from a new working paper by researchers from Vanderbilt University and RAND Corporation, and is the largest study to date.

Kindergarteners who receive universal free meals have higher attendance and lower chronic absenteeism, according to a recent study from Syracuse University. The study found that higher attendance and lower chronic absenteeism persist, with some variation, into the 3rd grade.
We’re launching the 2023 Attendance Awareness Campaign! Register today for the March 30 webinar, Belonging and Engagement: The Keys to Showing Up. Join in as we kick off the Campaign with the slogan, Showing Up Together!

Hedy Chang will moderate How Family Engagement Can Improve Student Engagement and Attendance, a virtual event cosponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Overdeck Family Foundation. Join us on Tuesday, March 28th at 10am PT / 1pm ET. Register!

Mark your calendars for the April 3 webinar in the series, Equity-Driven Strategies for Addressing Chronic Absence, co-sponsored by WestEd. Speakers will explore how to increase attendance and engagement for American Indian/Native American 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.
News Highlights
Help Get Kids Back In School
Our ability to provide free resources and tools, webinars, technical assistance and guidance depends on our contributions from people like you. Donate to Attendance Works!
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.