This toolkit is designed with five main audiences in mind:
National organizations can raise awareness about how addressing chronic absence is aligned with their current mission and encourage members to get involved in improving student engagement and attendance. They can promote adequate funding to help students and families overcome barriers to showing up to school and incorporate reducing chronic absenteeism into current activities and metrics. Groups can also sign on as collaborating partners.
State departments of education and agencies can draw from these materials to create statewide messaging campaigns. They can use their position as a bully pulpit for spreading the word about the importance of monitoring data and working together to address barriers to attendance as well as promote student and family engagement. They are essential to advancing the message about the importance of showing up to school every day so children and youth learn, build relationships, develop social and emotional skills and access resources.
Teachers, principals, superintendents and school boards can use these resources to fight the corrosive effects of absenteeism in their schools. The toolkit provides tailored materials for dealing with attendance in back-to-school letters, at meetings and at parent-teacher conferences. With support from school boards, superintendents can own the issue, drive with data and mobilize the community.
Any community group or agency that works with families and can deliver positive messages about why going to school every day is so important for success in school and life. It could, for instance, be a doctor’s office, a housing authority, a faith-based institution, a preschool or an after-school program.
Local leaders and organizations can convene and engage the entire community in working together to address school attendance. If the resources and conditions are ripe for a community campaign, collaboration can lead to greater impact. Among the leaders who are well positioned to spearhead a campaign:
Mayors and other local elected leaders can demonstrate their commitment to partnering with schools to improve educational outcomes, since good schools are essential to a strong local economy.
Chambers of Commerce can demonstrate their commitment to the local community and the need to promote the development of skills that will be needed in the future workforce.
Local philanthropy and United Way chapters can convene grantees and community partners around an issue that is easy to understand and monitor.
Everybody has a role to play! Our hope is that you will use this toolkit to determine how to build these messages into your communications and everyday interactions starting in September and throughout the school year. Read more about Who Can Help.