Encouraging Attendance

Seattle Public Schools Reducing Chronic Absenteeism

Seattle Public Schools, along with the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) and neighboring districts, have committed to addressing chronic absenteeism.

Our goal is to have 80 percent of our students in school on time and in class for the first 20 days of the 2016-17 school year.

Why Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Matter

Attendance has been proven to be one of the most powerful predictors of academic achievement and can have a dramatic impact on key milestones, including third grade reading, 9th grade achievement, high school graduation, and life success.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as a student missing 10 percent of school, regardless of the reason—that's 18 days in a school year.

A focus on chronic absenteeism examines the link between loss of instructional time and academic achievement. An awareness of chronic absenteeism and its potential impact will empower students, families, and communities to make informed decisions regarding missing school.

In Seattle Public Schools 6,121 (11.3 percent) of our students are chronically absent. If students aren’t in school, they aren’t engaged and we can’t ensure their academic success.

Supports for Families

Supports for Teachers

The Puget Sound Educational Service District has developed a webpage dedicated to providing more in-depth and updated information at Attendance Awareness Communicators Toolkit.

The PSESD toolkit includes resources such as:

  • Messages for parents
  • Messages for student
  • Resources to deliver the message (e.g. social media graphics and content, press releases, flyers, posters, articles and more)
  • Intervention strategies
  • How to get involved

Additional resources can be found at Attendance Works' website and the Truancy Toolkit from the California Department of Justice

Attendance Intervention: For Schools

Five universal strategies for building a culture of high attendance expectations.

Tackling Chronic Absence: 5 Universal Strategies for Building a Culture of High Attendance Expectations (Baltimore City Public Schools, Adapted from attendanceworks.org)

  1. Recognize good and improved attendance
  2. Intentionally and proactively engage students and families
  3. Monitor attendance data and daily practices
  4. Facilitate personalized and early outreach to students with attendance concerns
  5. Identify programmatic responses to barriers to school attendanceAttendance Campaign Pyramid
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