How Can We Engage the Community?

If you are in a position to engage the full community in your attendance campaign, the broader approach can amplify your efforts and provide extra help and resources. If possible, work with a cross-sector coalition to advance your plans.

Whether you have a coalition or not, find ways to put tools in the hands of other agencies and organizations.

Mobilize a community coalition Determine who can take on the issue. If your community is participating in an existing effort focused on academic achievement or dropout prevention, such as Campaign for Grade-Level Reading or the Coalition for Community Schools, tap the coalition in place to engage the community in improving attendance. All the right players might already be involved, or the coalition could consider using attendance as a way to engage additional partners.

Reach out to other existing coalitions Networks already organized, for example, to improve schools, promote literacy, reduce dropout rates, address health needs and organize community schools might offer enthusiastic partnership and leadership around addressing chronic absence. If your districts or schools are tracking early warning indicators, they’re already paying attention to attendance.

If no coalition exists to take on this issue, then consider launching your own; convene community partners who can help schools improve attendance.

Hold a community meeting to discuss ideas and solicit buy-in. Use the following resources to explain the issue and solutions, such as messaging and strategies, that motivate attendance.

Using Chronic Absence Data

Use these materials and reports

Ideally you would provide data on the number and percent of chronically absent students in your community. If your district has not calculated this, then consider registering for these tools.