Students who are chronically absent are more likely than other students to drop out of school. Many schools have goals to reduce student truancy and to help chronically absent students attend school regularly. Few studies, however, have focused on whether or how family and community involvement help reduce rates of chronic absenteeism.
In this longitudinal study, data were collected from 39 schools on rates of chronic absenteeism and on specific family and community involvement activities that were implemented to reduce this serious problem for student learning. Results indicate that school, family, and community partnership practices can significantly decrease chronic absenteeism, even after school level and prior rates of absenteeism are taken into account. In particular, communicating with families about attendance, celebrating good attendance with students and families, and connecting chronically absent students with community mentors measurably reduced students’ chronic absenteeism from one year to the next. Also, schools that conducted a greater total number of attendance-focused activities were more likely to decrease the percentage of students who missed 20 or more days of school each year.
Download the full article, available at Getting students to school: Using family and community involvement to reduce chronic absenteeism. Sheldon, S. B. & Epstein, J. L. (2004). The School Community Journal, 14, 39-56.