Attendance matters: Strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism

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September 7, 2015 by HCDE Communications

Attendance matters: Strategies to reduce chronic absenteeismWhile we enjoy the day off from school and work this Labor Day, we recognize the impact of attending school every day on student success.

September is Attendance Awareness Month and the organization Attendance Works is partnering with families and community agencies across the nation to intervene when poor attendance becomes a problem for students or schools.

According to Attendance Works, “Students who miss more school than their peers consistently score lower on standardized tests, a result that holds true at every age, in every demographic group, and in every state and city tested.”

September is a significant month in identifying problem attendance. Attendance Works’ research finds the following:
•    Students who miss less than two days of school in September typically have good attendance rates for the entire year
•    Half of students who miss 2-4 days in of school in September typically go on to miss a month or more, which is known as chronic absence.
•    Nearly 9 out of 10 students who miss more than 4 days in September are chronically absent for the year. These students miss an average of 70 days.

Houston ISD says, “Missing more than 10 percent (or 17 days) of school a year can lead to a student not receiving a grade or being retained, but more importantly, it represents lost time in the classroom and a lost opportunity to learn.”

Educators can practice the following strategies to help reduce chronic absenteeism:
•    Promote good attendance among students. Educate families on how quickly early absences can add up to academic trouble. Encourage good attendance by providing contests and incentives for students.
•    Track the right data. Review data and looks for patterns around frequently missed dates. Look at both excused and unexcused absences. Send encouraging messaging out around the holidays as absences often spike as families try to squeeze in a few more vacation days.
•    Use community partners. Evaluate barriers to attendance that lie beyond the classroom, such as a lack of reliable transportation, health and dental problems, or housing issues. Engage community partners who could help and offer the resources to families in need.

This summer, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislature to decriminalize truancy. Attend our Truancy Officers’ Legislative Update 2015 Meeting at HCDE to get the scoop on the new truancy bill (HB 2398) Sept. 10, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Learn how it affects our schools, families and the court system. Register at:

About the Blogger:
Harris County Department of Education’s Communication team helps promote the efforts of HCDE’s programs and services to the education community. Our close-knit, award-winning team works together on creative strategies to effectively support the organization. We’re always looking to share great stories and on occasion contribute to the HCDE blog, School Bell.

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