Chronic Absence is a combination of factors that include school, family, and community. Improving student attendance is essential for ensuring our students are on track to learn and succeed.
While addressing some attendance barriers, such a health, poor transportation, and unstable housing, can require long term strategies. Through positive messaging, everyone can make a difference by helping students and families understand that going to school every day and avoiding absences whenever possible is critical to realizing success in school and in life
- Attendance Tools/Resources
- Attendance Letters
- Attendance Flow Chart
- Truancy Referral Form/Contract
- Juvenile Court Truancy Mediation Request Form
- Youth Services - Brief Community Intervention
- Parent Engagement
In conjunction, with the Attendance Letter Tool in ENCORE, there is a Student Services Attendance Tools folder in Office 365/One Drive that provides numerous resources and strategies for both parents and schools that assist in addressing barriers to attendance. There are also educational materials, and power point presentations for use with faculty, parents, and the community on the importance of attendance, along with research briefs containing important information on best practice and data on attendance outcomes.
For detailed instructions on how to access these tools please see the tutorial below:
The Chronic Absenteeism Network, supported by United Way and REL West, have provided our schools with training on how schools can address chronic absenteeism. The presentation from that training can be found here. Contained in that training are some activities that a school team can engage in to identify contributing factors and how to prioritize what factors to address. The fishbone activity guides a team in this process of identifying root causes of chronic absenteeism. An example of this is below.
Teams are also encouraged to focus on those things that they have influence on that will have the greatest impact on student attendance. A quadrant, like the one below, can be used by a team to organize the identified variables affecting attendance and prioritize the variables to be addressed.
If your team would like additional training on how to use these tools and strategies, reach out the the student and family resources department.
Attendance Works resources – Kick off the new year with a focus on attendance!
There are countless resources and tools on the AW website. Here are some selected resource that your school teams may find particularly useful, for all grade levels (many in Spanish as well).
- Attendance Awareness Month site and resources – September
- Attendance awareness promotions: Banners, online badges, printable posters, and parent handouts
- Elementary parent handout (cute infographic): Too sick for school?
- Attendance incentive guidance/ideas
- Toolkit: Teaching Attendance
- Toolkit: Engaging Parents in Preventing Chronic Absence
- Toolkit: Leveraging Parent-Teacher Conferences to engage families in attendance improvement
- Student Attendance Success Plan templates
- Toolkit: Relationships Matter: Launching an Elementary Success Mentor Initiative
- Toolkit: LAUSD attendance campaign guide for schools
Other articles and helpful tools:
9 Things Schools can do to Improve Attendance (ESchool News ARTICLE)
- Reducing chronic absenteeism w/school climate and SEL
- Webinar: Reducing Chronic Absenteeism
- National center of safe supportive learning environments
- Effective social and emotional learning programs
- Reducing suspensions is not enough
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
Administrators can submit a referral to the student and family resources webpage for students who are chronically absent. Submit through the following link and a member of the student and family resources department will follow up with you.
*Before making a referral for truancy mediation please do a ccp with Brad Christensen in Student and Family Resources.
When to request truancy mediation:
- Any time you are concerned about a student’s attendance up to the point you would make a referral to JJS youth services and/or the juvenile court for truancy.
- Truancy mediation may also be requested after a referral is made to JJS youth services or the juvenile court for truancy.
- Truancy mediation is for youth in 7th – 12th grade and at least 12 years old.
How to make the request:
- After contacting the parent(s) or guardian(s) to discuss the need for mediation and explore three available dates/ times for mediation.
- The school will send a truancy mediation information sheet to parent(s) or guardian(s).
- The school will then fill out a google referral form request form requesting mediation. The google form can be found here
Or at this link
- The google sheet will ask for the following information
- School administrator or contact person with email address and phone number
- The school and school district where the youth attends school and county of residence.
- Name, date of birth, and grade level of student
- Parent(s)/Guardian(s) name and home address
- Three possible dates/times parent, student, and school administrator are available for mediation
- The local mediation coordinator will arrange for mediator and notify the school of the mediator's name and phone number.
- The school will confirm the time of the mediation with the parent(s) or guardian(s)
Who should attend the mediation:
- Parent(s) or guardian(s)
- All school staff involved with the student's attendance (principal, assistant principal, school counselor, school psychologist, teacher, etc.)
What to expect:
- All truancy mediations are held virtually via zoom.
- Students and parents can participate via zoom from their home or workplace or from the school.
- Room set up at the school - A separate room for the parents and student, with a laptop or tablet, is preferred so the mediator can see and hear everyone on zoom. School staff can be in a conference room together or in their offices.
- Plan on two hours per mediation (School staff are not required to be present in the room the entire two hours. The mediator will be meeting alone with the student and parent(s) during a caucus. It is important that a school representative with authority to make decisions remains nearby.
- If the mediation requires an interpreter, plan on three hours for mediation.
During the mediation the school contact person provides:
- School reports (grades, attendance, transcript) that can be shared with the mediator, student and family. This can be done with screen sharing on zoom.
At the conclusion of the mediation the mediator will:
- Type up the MOU (agreement) and screen share with all parties.
- Get a verbal agreement from everyone to electronically sign the MOU.
- Send a copy of the MOU (agreement) to all parties via email.
After the mediation the school contact person will:
- Monitor compliance with the MOU (agreement).
- Attach a copy of the Memo of Understanding if you make a habitual truancy referral to the juvenile court.
Contact Bart MacKay, firstname.lastname@example.org (435) 986-5754, with questions or to get more information.
Youth Services (formerly known as "Brief Community Intervention Program") is an after-school program for secondary students who are at-risk. Students must be age 10 or older to qualify for the program (12 and older for students to participate with the group program).