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School Attendance
It matters to our entire community.
Unpacking Attendance Terms
• Average Daily Attendance
The percent of enrolled students who attend school each
day. This determines a school’s funding allocation.
• Truancy
Typically refers only to unexcused absences. It signals the
potential need for legal intervention.
• Chronic Absence
Missing 10% or more of school, excused or unexcused. This
indicates a student is academically at risk due to missing
too much school.
Chronic Absence: A National Crisis
• Nationwide, as many as 10-15% of students (7.5
million) miss nearly a month of school every year.
• Poor attendance starts as early as kindergarten
and pre-kindergarten.
• Chronic absenteeism is a red alert that students
are headed for academic trouble and eventually
for dropping out of high school.
• Insert local attendance stat
Who is affected?
• 1 in 10 children
. . . in kindergarten and first grade are chronically absent.
In some schools, it’s as high as one in four.
• 2 in 10 low-income children
. . . miss too much school and are more likely to suffer
• 2.5 in 10 homeless children
. . . are chronically absent.
• 4 in 10 children
. . . miss too much school when families move.
Why it matters
• Who can read on grade level after 3rd grade?
64% of students who missed nine days or fewer in kindergarten
and first grade.
43% of kids who missed more than nine days both years.
41% of kids who missed 18 or more days one year.
17% of kids chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade.
Starting in Pre-K, chronic absence affects learning and
school readiness. Attendance matters most for the
children who enter the farthest behind.
Analyses control for prior preschool experience, race, gender, neighborhood poverty and social status, special education status, ELL status, and
program type. Missing data points represent values with fewer than 30 students.
Multiple Years of Elementary Chronic Absence
= Worse Middle School Outcomes
Each year of chronic absence in elementary school is associated with
a substantially higher probability of chronic absence in 6th grade
Increase in
probability of
6th grade
Chronic absence in 1st
grade is also associated
Lower 6th grade test
Higher levels of
Years of Chronic Absence in Grades 1-5
Oakland Unified School District SY 2006-2012, Analysis By Attendance Works
The Effects of Chronic Absence on Dropout
Rates Are Cumulative
With every year of
absenteeism, a
higher percentage
of students
dropped out of
Why are students
chronically absent?
• Absences are only • Lack of access
a problem if
to health care
they’re unexcused. • Poor
• Sporadic absences
aren’t a problem. • No safe path to
• Attendance only
matters for teens.
• Child struggling
• Lack of engaging
• Poor school
• Parents had
negative school
Universal Strategies for Building a Culture of
Attendance & Identifying Barriers
“The reality is an absence is an absence,
excused or not, and that child is not in that
classroom benefiting from the instruction on
that day. We have to work in our community,
with our schools and our families to build a
culture of attendance."
• Ralph Smith, Executive Vice President,
Annie E. Casey Foundation
What will be our
next steps for our plan of action?
1. ???
2. ???
3. ???
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