Respond to the non-academic factors that influence school participation and performance.
Research shows that non-academic factors such as chronic absenteeism, trauma, poverty, and adversity negatively impact academic performance. Young people who experience these non-academic factors are more likely to drop out of high school. Community partners can support efforts to keep youth in high school by meeting their mental and physical health need and building a sense of community- and school-based belonging.
- Chronic-absenteeism data is widely available and can be used as a first-look to identify students in need of support.
- Social and emotional learning can empower school staff and students to manage adversity through an emphasis on managing emotions, setting positive goals, empathy, and having positive relationships. Investing in social and emotional learning is shown to decrease disciplinary infractions and increase academic performance.
- Caring adults in schools and partner organizations can offer services to alleviate the impacts of trauma, poverty, and adversity. For example, they can provide access to dental, physical, and mental healthcare in the school, offer meal or laundry services, or extend empathy to their students.
WHAT IS THE FIELD DOING?
- Communities In Schools provides a number of attendance resources to help schools and communities address chronic absenteeism.
- Future ED’s new report, Who's In: Chronic Absenteeism Under ESSA, provides a comprehensive review of the provisions in all 51 state ESSA plans, as well as the results of an analysis of federal chronic absenteeism data. Drawing on this research, they offer a roadmap for leveraging ESSA to keep more students in school and on a path to academic success
- Healthy Schools Campaign’s Addressing the Health-Related Causes of Chronic Absenteeism: A Toolkit for Action focuses on preparing educators—particularly school district decision-makers—with knowledge and practical guidance for creating meaningful change to address health-related chronic absenteeism.
- Instead of punishing a student for being late to school, work to figure out why that student was late. In NPR’s “A Year of Love and Struggle in a New High School,” find out how educators at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Washington, D.C., are seeing young black men in high school through to graduation. You cannot graduate if you do not come to school.
- Albuquerque, New Mexico: In Albuquerque, Mission: Graduate partnered with New Mexico PBS (NMPBS) and local school districts, including Albuquerque Public Schools, to get the word out that “Every Day Matters.” Part of this partnership includes television PSAs and other marketing materials to raise awareness about the impact of not going to school regularly. Recently, Mission: Graduate and NMPBS brought together more than 240 people, representing 40 schools and five school districts, for an all-day conference aimed at helping schools dig deep into their chronic-absence data to develop their own school-based attendance success plans.
- Cleveland, Ohio: The Get 2 School. You Can Make It! Campaign in Cleveland just finished its second year promoting the importance of regular school attendance throughout the entire city with billboards, phone outreach, and home visits. The initiative uses strategic partnerships to remove barriers that contribute to students being chronically absent and rewards good and improved attendance through a data-driven decision-making process. After the first year of the program, the district reported 2,400 more students on track with attendance compared to prior years.
- State of Oregon: The 2015 Oregon Legislature enacted House Bill 4002, which directed the Oregon Department of Education and the Chief Education Office to develop a joint statewide education plan to address chronic absence. Nationally, Oregon’s chronic absenteeism rate consistently ranks within the bottom 20 percent of states. Chronic absence disproportionately impacts American Indian students, students with disabilities, students of color, low-income students, and students with an out-of-school suspension. In response, the state will use data with key partners, promote welcoming learning environments, and support educators.
- Attendance Works and the Everyone Graduates Center’s report, Preventing Missed Opportunity: Taking Collective Action to Confront Chronic Absence, builds on the first national chronic absence data set from the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) from the 2013-14 school year. Their analysis shows geographical and socioeconomic concentration of chronic absenteeism. Additionally, the report lays out steps that states and school districts can take to address chronic absence.
- The Brookings Institution released a report, Chronic absenteeism: An old problem in search of new answers, in July 2017 which recaps the causes and consequences of chronic absenteeism and potential solutions to the problem. The report advocates for states and districts to collect high quality data on attendance, and for schools “to use this data in a strategic and ongoing way to identify truant students, and then monitor effects to improve their attendance.”