Winter 2022
A Note from the Executive Director
Wintery weather and illness common to the season mean more students and families will face barriers to being in school. These conditions mean it is even more important to communicate with parents/caregivers about the importance of making every effort to keep students learning, despite the challenges! See below for updated resources for addressing health and weather-related issues.

The continuing high levels of chronic absence seen this fall in many districts and schools show that reengaging students, especially those most adversely affected by the pandemic, requires a long-term investment. It involves persistent attention to relationship building, meaningful learning experiences and offering supports to overcome barriers. 

Please join us in urging everyone to do what they can to create the conditions in school that encourage students and families to show up and engage, and to partner with families with students struggling to learn. Schools and districts can use their data to target funds – particularly federal relief dollars – where they are needed most. Read our blog post summarizing the U.S. Department of Education’s new guidance on using federal dollars to invest in attendance, engagement and learning supports. 

We continue to see examples that demonstrate what is possible, especially when we move away from punitive responses. The Louisiana Department of Education, for instance, experienced an attendance improvement last year, unlike most other states, by emphasizing a restorative approach, coordinating strategies at the state level and building staff capacity. Read our blog post.

As the year winds down, we thank everyone for maintaining a sense of hope and continuing to develop approaches to ensure students have access to learning. 

We wish you a holiday season that renews your spirit and strength. We look forward to working with you to support new successes, both large and small, in the New Year!


Hedy N. Chang
Founder and Executive Director
Help get kids back in school! We rely on contributors like you to help us keep Attendance Works resources free for everyone. Join the movement and donate today.
News Highlights
Resource Spotlight
We have new health-related messaging in our Stay the Course winter messaging toolkit, where you’ll find resources to help educators partner with parents/caregivers and community members on strategies and plans to overcome challenging weather, illness and other common wintertime barriers to getting students to school.

Flu, RSV, Covid-19 and more are keeping students home from school this winter. Find updated resources for educators about student health and chronic absenteeism on our website.

Be sure to visit the Keep Learning California website to learn about its family resources. Find tips on how to stay safe during the cold, support school attendance, childcare, meal programs and more!

As the school year moves forward, we all can engage in messaging about why it matters to show up to school regularly. We recommend highlighting that Showing Up Matters for R.E.A.L. Learn more.
Policy News
A new report calls on state government leaders to recognize the urgency of the youth mental health crisis and the role state agencies can play in addressing student mental health needs. Learn more in State Policy Opportunities: Advancing Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems to Support Students from the Healthy Schools Campaign and Mental Health America.
Exclusionary discipline, which increased in the U.S. over several decades, may have a long-lasting negative impact on students. Pushed Out: Trends and Disparities in Out-of-School Suspension, by Learning Policy Institute, provides national and state levels and recommendations for reducing school exclusion for all students.

Using elementary grade level data, researchers found that teachers who use more punitive approaches increase student absenteeism and reduce student achievement. The findings in Strictly Speaking: Examining Teacher Use of Punishments and Student Outcomes, from the Annenberg Institute, suggest that punitive disciplinary measures do not aid teachers in managing classrooms.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s #LearningTuesday webinar, Follow the Money, on Dec. 14, 3-4:30pm ET will explore challenges that have impeded the obligation of federal Covid relief funds so far, and lift up examples of smart investments that can be made in 2023 and 2024 for the greatest impact on teaching and learning. Register here.

RaaWeeK12’s Every Day Matters Summit offers free resources and forums for sharing best practices. The third installment on January 19 features best practices of Aggregating and Disaggregating Attendance Data for Actionable Insights and Planning. Register.
Professional Development
Concerned about exceptionally high levels of absenteeism? We've opened new dates in January and February for our three-part e-training for educators. Participants will learn proven, evidence-based, tiered strategies. Learn more.
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, Kaiser Permanente, Open Society Institute–Baltimore, The Patterson Foundation, Rogers Family Foundation, Stuart Foundation, United Way of Greater Kansas City, United Way of Treasure Valley.