How Can We Identify and Help Students with Poor Attendance?


The best way to identify students with poor attendance is to calculate the attendance data that schools are already collecting. Once the data is analyzed, perhaps the most critical strategy is using absence data to guide your early caring outreach to families and students who are already missing too many days of school. Personally talking with families and students is essential for identifying barriers to attendance — hunger, health, shelter, transportation or other challenges.

Here are tips for identifying and helping chronically absent students:

  1. Organize and train volunteers or national service members to reach out to absent students and families. Schools can assemble or reconvene attendance teams and host a first meeting in September.
  2. Calculate the data to ensure that every school identifies students at risk of chronic absence and reaches out to parents.
  3. Use data to determine where and how to target resources that can address common challenges of getting to school and build a local culture of attendance.
  4. Develop strategies to address common barriers, such as chronic illnesses and mental health issues that keep students from attending school regularly.