Transforming K12 Attendance: A Guide to Understanding and Addressing Student Absenteeism

Student attendance is a fundamental challenge for K-12 education. Chronic absenteeism harms achievement and graduation rates. This guide from the National Dropout Prevention Center provides research-based principles to drive local attendance improvement efforts.

With over 37 years of experience, the Center identified 15 lessons learned about the root causes of absenteeism. Key principles address the role of families for younger students, student autonomy for older students, unintended policy consequences, and the difficulty of reengaging truants.

The guide stresses that effective strategies must be locally driven and consider root causes, not just external barriers. It debunks myths like transportation challenges being the primary obstacle.

This resource helps educators critically evaluate current initiatives. The self-assessment instrument guides schools to inventory efforts, find gaps, and determine new actions aligned to principles.

By framing attendance as a complex, multifaceted issue requiring comprehensive solutions, the guide empowers meaningful change. It provides clarity and a roadmap to transform patterns.

For any K12 educator concerned about absenteeism, this is an invaluable resource. The principles and assessment process enable locally-tailored, strategic plans. Just as importantly, the guide shifts mindsets by unveiling the intricacies of attendance and moving beyond random improvements.

Written by

Thomas Hawkins
Manager Of Research & Communication
Successful Practices Network & National Dropout Prevention Center
Dr. Sandy Addis
National Dropout Prevention Center
Dr. Robert Peters
Vice President & Chief Academic Officer
Successful Practices Network & National Dropout Prevention Center

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