Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism
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Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

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Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

Why are we focusing on attendance?
Every absence, excused or unexcused, is a learning opportunity lost and can have significant impacts on a student’s success in school and life. A student who misses 10% or more of their school days, which amounts to 18 or more days in a school year—or just two days a month—for any reason is considered chronically absent. Chronically absent students are more likely to fall behind in reading and math and less likely to graduate from high school. Addressing chronic absenteeism and developing good attendance habits is a solvable problem for which we all share responsibility.

Getting Started
The following tools can help you take the first steps towards reducing chronic absenteeism and improving attendance:


  • OSPI District Data Analytics can show you how your district compares to other districts in the state and the gaps between at-risk student groups in your district.
    • 2015-16 Data will be available in March/April 2017 NEW!
  • District and School Attendance Tracking Tools (Excel) from Attendance Works is a valuable tool for exploring your data further at the building, grade and individual student levels.
  • Data on Chronic Absenteeism in the Civil Rights Data Collection The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has included chronic absenteeism (defined in this case as 15 days absent) in its school level civil rights data collection.
  • The Healthy Youth Survey is an excellent source of data, such as school climate and mental health, that can help you understand the challenges your students face that might impact their attendance. 2016 data will be available in March 2017 NEW!

Laws and Reporting Guidance NEW!

Upcoming Events
ESD 189 Regional Workshop: Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism, New Challenges in Policy and Practice

Awareness & Communication Materials
Puget Sound ESD Attendance Toolkit
Attendance Works – Awareness Month Materials

Count Us In! September Awareness Month Toolkit from Attendance Works

Attendance Communication Toolkit developed by the State of California and the Ad Council
How should we talk to parents of elementary school students about their children's absences? This toolkit, developed by California and the Ad Council, includes sample emails to teachers, strategies for school nurses, and parent handouts.

The Importance of School Attendance (video) – A great video featuring a young girl and how absences affect her success in school (from the Absences Add Up Campaign)


Contact Us
Is your school or district addressing absenteeism? Contact us and let us know what you are doing!

Attendance Awareness

What's New

September is Attendance Awareness Month!
There will be a state-wide poster contest, communication materials, and a Call to Action for all district superintendents! More information.

Notice of Rulemaking
OSPI is revising the WAC governing absences, excused and unexcused.

Robocall Message
Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse, a native Washingtonian, partnered with OSPI, DSHS, and Mentoring Works WA, to record a wake-up call for kids and a notification of absence phone call for parents. Download the recordings here:
Parent Notification Call | Student Wake Up Call

SSHB 2449
Parent Attendance Template Letter Available in 14 languages.
Truancy Laws and 2449 Implementation Info

   Updated 6/29/2017

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