Chronic Absenteeism for Schools

Chronic absenteeism, which represents lost instructional time for students, is gaining nationwide awareness. Student attendance is strongly correlated to academic achievement, graduation rates, and postsecondary success. Research indicates that schools and districts can have an impact on students absenteeism rates. 
Chronic absenteeism is one of several indicators on the new Oklahoma School Report Card, which is designed to give parents and communities an annual snapshot of student learning, progress, and achievement at the local level. Including chronic absenteeism on the new school report card will highlight local efforts to prioritize student attendance. 
OSDE is ready to support schools, families, and communities as they work together to improve attendance. We encourage schools to identify their local needs, build community partnerships and formulate a plan to help students get to school on time every day. 

How do we define chronic absenteeism?

A student is considered chronically absent after missing 10 percent or more of school days. This includes both excused and unexcused absences. Missing 10 percent of school days would be approximately 18 days in a normal 180-day school calendar - just two days per month.
Chronic absenteeism looks beyond truancy and average daily attendance to shine a light on how missing school days can affect an individual student's path to success.
It's important that all Oklahoma schools and districts understand chronic absenteeism. To learn more, visit the resources below.


How do we move forward?

Begin with a self-assessment.

Establishing where you currently stand is the first step in creating a chronic absenteeism plan for your school or district. Identify the root causes of absenteeism in your area with a self-assessment. 
For schools that are just beginning, the self-assessment for schools is short and gives a simple place to start.
For districts and also for schools that want to dive deeper into preventing chronic absence, use the district self-assessment tool.

Formulate a plan.

Now that you've identified where chronic absenteeism gaps exist in your local school or district, you can begin to create an action plan. Start with quick wins before expanding to more complex action items. 
Attendance Works: Find practical tips on how to address student attendance. Resources are organized by role including superintendents, principals, teachers, and support staff.
Oklahoma Attendance Toolkit: Access online resources, examine how other schools have made progress and learn how to build community relationships. 

It takes a team.

Form a strong team to address chronic absenteeism within your local school or district and support them with the professional development resources below:
Teaching Attendance: This professional development tool uses 40-minute training modules to equip school leaders, teachers, and support staff with relevant information, guidance, and resources on how to reduce chronic absences in grades K-12. 
Learn best practices by exploring these examples of chronic absenteeism policies in action:

Engage your community.

Visit Attendance Works for helpful resources on how to reach out to families, students, community members, organizations, and policymakers.
Learn how to engage families and begin the conversation by viewing these Attendance Works presentations.
Launch an Attendance Awareness Campaign in your town. For great graphics for social media posts, content suggestions, check out Attendance Works Social Media Tools.

Celebrate your success!

Share your own success story here for a chance to be featured on the Attendance Works website, newsletter, and social media!
Connect on our social media to share your success stories and best practices.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, post your success stories on our Facebook page, and use the hashtag #AttendingOK.


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Last updated on December 19, 2022