School Leader Resources

A group of young children getting on the schoolbus

“At the core of school improvement and education reform is an assumption so widely understood that it is rarely invoked: students have to be present and engaged in order to learn.”

– Chang and Romero 2008

School attendance is a simple, easily understood measure of student performance.  BUT, it is also more than just a measure of student performance and is an issue for a large number of underachieving schools.

Helpful Articles

“This national report by Attendance Works found that chronic absenteeism is often the result of a student’s health problems, such as asthma and dental problems, and is often as prevalent among young children as it is among teenagers. At least 10 percent of kindergartners and 1st graders miss nearly a month of class in a school year, according to the report. Children from low-income families and communities of color and those with disabilities are disproportionately affected, leading to a greater achievement gap for these populations.”

Guides & Toolkits

The Attendance Campaign Toolkit provides attendance activities, an attendance training PowerPoint presentation, attendance improvement plan templates, suggested best practices for improving attendance, attendance messaging with parents, improving school attendance and The Attendance Imperative as well as monthly data for their pilot program.


Dropout Prevention: What Works Clearinghouse (Series of strategies and prevention programs)


Improving Student Attendance: Strategies and Resources  – This summary of a multi-tiered school-wide approach to improving student attendance and achievement is the result of an extensive search of federal, national, state and local websites, including a major national resource, Attendance Works (AW).


Attendance Tool Kit: Supports, Programs, and Services: Missing School Matters  –  This tool kit provides an overview to a multi-tiered approach to implementing strategies to address student attendance aligned with the Ohio Comprehensive System of Learning Supports. It also includes guiding questions to assist in selecting and tailoring strategies and for reviewing the current organizational structures that promote regular attendance and punctuality. Finally, for each tier of support, it proffers suggested action steps, resources, and a timeline.


School Attendance Improvement Handbook  –  The handbook’s purpose is to showcase strategies that have worked to break the cycle of failure, including prevention, intervention, and legal strategies.


  •  Attendance Works is a website that provides different resources, samples, and materials to help reduce chronic absences. Attendance Works states that chronic absences “take commitments, collaboration, and tailored approaches.” This website provides examples from other schools districts but most importantly it provides key strategies that school districts should have in order to reduce chronic absences. It also provides “key ingredients for systematic change” that should exist across school districts.
  •  Missing School Matters  breaks down student attendance rates into three categories/tiers with color-coding; green represents Universal, yellow is Targeted and red is Intensive. Each tier is then addressed with action plans and implementations, resources needed, a timeline and outcome measurements. *See article in Resources.
  •  –  The Everyone Graduate Center seeks to identify the barriers that stand in the way of all students graduating from high school prepared for adult success, to develop strategic solutions to overcome the barriers, and to build local capacity to implement and sustain them.
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