Chronic Absence School Self-Assessment

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  • 8/9/2019 Chronic Absence School Self-Assessment


    Does Attendance Really Count in Our School? A Tool for Self Assessment - (Revised Spring, 2010)

    (Note: Chronic absence = missing 10% or more of school for any reason including excused and unexcusedabsences. It is different from and can be masked by truancy (unexcused absences) or average daily

    attendance (the percent of students who show up to school each day).Key Element Streng

    thOK forNow




    Implication(s) for Action

    1. Every day, in every class, teachers take rollaccurately in a caring manner.

    2. Attendance data is entered daily into anelectronic data base that can generateregular reports on average dailyattendance, chronic absence & truancy.

    3. An attendance team meets regularly toreview data to identify problematic andpositive attendance patterns by grade,population of students and classroom .

    4. Our school tracks and reaches out tochronically absent students and theirfamilies to see how attendance could beimproved.

    5. Students with excessive excused absencesare required to provide a doctors note.

    6. Individual learning plans are developedfor high-risk students exhibiting pooracademic performance and/or poorattendance.

    7. Our school partners with communityagencies that can help reach out and offerresources to help chronically absentstudents and their families

    8. An effective school wide system of attendance incentives is in place.

    9. Our school informs parents about theimportance of attendance, works withparents to identify common barriers andencourages parents to help each other get

    their children to school.10. Our strategies for supporting student1

  • 8/9/2019 Chronic Absence School Self-Assessment


    attendance are reflected in our schoolimprovement plan.


    Additional InformationKey Element What does this mean? Reflections: Whats working? Whats

    challenging?1. Every day, in every class,

    teachers take roll accuratelyin a caring manner.

    Teachers take time and care to take roll everyday (and for every class in middle and highschool.) Students quickly notice if teachersexpress concern if they were absent.

    2. Attendance data is entereddaily into an electronic database that can generateregular reports on average

    daily attendance, chronicabsence and truancy.

    Ideally, schools should be able to reviewattendance data reports on at least a monthlyif not weekly basis so they can detect trendsearly. All three measuresaverage daily

    attendance, chronic absence and truancyoffer important insights.3. Our school has an

    attendance team thatregularly meets andreviews . attendance data toidentify problematic andpositive patterns by grade,population of students andclassroom.

    The attendance team should include keystakeholders (principal, attendance clerk,parent liaison, social worker or nurse) who canbring important and diverse perspectives tobear when interpreting attendance data. Itshould meet at least twice a month. Highlevels of chronic absence can be used torecognize problems in need of interventionwhile good attendance data can be used to

    identify promising practices worth replication.

    4. Our school reaches out tochronically absent studentsand their families to see howattendance could beimproved.

    A list of chronically absent students should begenerated daily or, at least, weekly. Outreachcould be conducted by a teacher, anattendance clerk, or even a trained parentvolunteeras long as there is a clearprocedure. Outreach should begin by findingout what the family says are the reasons forthe chronic absence (e.g. illness,transportation, extended vacation, child

    doesnt like school or feels bullied etc.)


  • 8/9/2019 Chronic Absence School Self-Assessment


    Key Element What does this mean? Reflections: Whats working? Whatschallenging?

    Developing solutions requires knowing theissues that contribute to poor attendance

    5. Students with excessiveexcused absences arerequired to provide adoctors note.

    Such a policy helps clarify whether theabsences are truly due to illness and shouldtherefore be excused vs. truant.

    6. Individual learning plans aredeveloped with high riskstudents exhibiting pooracademic performanceand/or poor attendance.

    When students exhibit high risks then parents,teachers, staff from partnering communityagencies and students themselves shouldwork together to develop and agree upon anindividual learning plan. Attendance andacademic performance should be explicitlyexplored andaddressed.

    7. Our school partners withcommunity agencies whocan help reach out and offer

    resources to help chronicallyabsent students and theirfamilies.

    A variety of community resources are knownto support improved attendance (afterschoolprogramming, health services, pre-K

    programs, help with accessing tax credits orother income supports, etc.) Sometimes thesepartners are in a better position to reach outto families because, for example, afterschoolproviders have a different relationship toparents. An understanding of critical barriersto attendance can inform which partnershipsare most needed.

    8. An effective schoolwidesystem of attendance

    incentives .

    Low-cost attendance incentives, whether theyare material (such as pencil or popcorn

    parties) or emotional (acknowledgement inclass, at morning assembly or in the schoolnewsletter, extra recess time, opportunities todress casually if uniforms are required) areknown to work, especially if they are part of aschool wide approach to creating a culture of going to school regularly. Keep in mind theimportance of rewarding improvedattendance, not just perfect attendance .

    9. Our school informs parentsabout the importance of

    Staff plays a key role in educating parentsabout the adverse consequence of chronic


  • 8/9/2019 Chronic Absence School Self-Assessment


    Key Element What does this mean? Reflections: Whats working? Whatschallenging?

    attendance, works withparents to identify commonbarriers and encouragesparents to help each otherget their children to school.

    absence and offering tips for how to avoidmissing school. Information can be offeredthrough parent workshops, parent/teacherconferences and written communications.Attendance workshops can combine advicefrom an expert with opportunities for sharingstrategies and problem-solving amongparents. Parents also can offer criticalinformation about barriers to attendancecommonly faced by students at the school.

    10. Our plans to supportstudent attendance areincorporated into our schoolimprovement plans.

    Every year, typically in the Spring, schools arerequired to develop a plan for improvingstudent achievement, accompanied by abudget for how resources will be used to carryout this plan. To be sustainable, strategies forimproving attendance and reducing chronic

    absences should be reflected in this plan.



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