Chronic Absenteeism 

  • Project Lead Coaches: Dr. Kellie Katzenberger, Cathy Herbert, M.Ed.
  • Grade Bands: All
  • Delivery: In-Person (preferred), Hybrid, Virtual
  • Specialized to a Population: No
  • Audience: ­­­­­ ­­­­­General Ed, SPED & Bilingual Teachers, Principals, Other School- and District-Level Admins.

ULLC has developed a technology-based method to address chronic absenteeism (CA) in schools in furtherance of the ESSA plan that incorporates student attendance numbers as part of the logarithm to determine school quality and student success. ULLC presents multiple research-based strategies to improve attendance and works with the school/district to build a culture of attendance and to progress monitor effectiveness. The outcomes from our first few years were outstanding.  

ULLC coaches will work with each school, district, and state model to develop progress monitoring tools to address the absentee issue. We recently completed such a project in Illinois. The Illinois school sampled above to the right reviews the CA file every month as a team. They picked a few (1-2) CA interventions to consistently implement with fidelity. The result is a current CA rate during the COVID-19 pandemic still under their 18-19 CA Rate.

Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, with IL EMPOWER support and in partnership with our clients (Cahokia, IL, and East. St. Louis, IL), ULLC consultants studied the school/districts’ policies and procedures on current attendance practices. Following current PIA and FERPA privacy protocols, the school/district provided a member of the ULLC team access to their student level attendance records via the Student Information System (Skyward) or data visualization tool (Domo). Having access to these data is imperative when attempting to identify root causes for chronic absenteeism

Monthly, the ULLC team member downloads the most recent attendance records for all active students. Data is cleaned for accuracy and additional elements are added to the file, including the ULLC CA Tier, which is based on total absences divided by days enrolled.  

Interactive pivot tables allow for month-to-month progress monitoring of students as they move across tiers. Additional filters at the top allow school teams to disaggregate their data to determine root causes. Based on school requests, ULLC debriefs the file with the school using a data protocol and develops a plan for intervention. The outlining and review of attendance procedures as they were applied to the monthly file becomes a regular practice for the school team when reviewing their monthly data for integrity.

Research suggests that schools should make efforts to correct parents’/caregivers’ beliefs about how many total absences their students have accumulated. ULLC has developed a parent communication that schools can send home to parents that includes these evidence-based strategies. Additional services available include mapping student addresses to determine if there are geographic patterns of CA, comparing student tiers from year to year and month to month, and mail merging attendance letters for parent notifications.