Strategies for reducing chronic absenteeism

A new resource from FutureEd and Attendance Works offers ideas for how schools can reduce chronic absenteeism among students. The Attendance Playbook by Phyllis Jordan lists a series of strategies, sorted into three tiers, with Tier 1 being the least intensive and most appropriate for all students and Tier 3 being intended for the students with the most serious difficulties. For each intervention, the playbook includes a summary of the research about it, examples of schools that have used it, and what school leaders need to consider when implementing the strategy.

Tier 1 strategies involve communication with students and families to keep them engaged with school (through nudges about absences, home visits, positive messages, and incentives for attendance); health, transportation, food, and laundry services that address barriers to attendance; and school climate initiatives, such as relevant instruction, personal greetings, recess requirements, and restorative discipline.

Tier 2 strategies focus on students missing around 10% of the school year or more through early warning systems, mentoring, and interventions targeting specific barriers (such as asthma and transportation).

Tier 3 strategies work with students missing even more days and often draw on other agencies for support. These interventions include truancy courts, case management, and housing assistance.

Source: Jordan, P. (2019). Attendance playbook: Smart solutions for reducing chronic absenteeismWashington, DC: FutureEd & Attendance Works.

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