Attendance Extra Point #1: Use Ohio’s Whole Child Framework to develop comprehensive and tiered supports to increase students’ engagement in learning.

Educators and members of the school community dedicated a great deal of time to support students and families in the 2020-2021 school year. Still, many students faced significant barriers to school engagement and attendance. Among Ohio’s urban and rural Proving Ground partners, chronic absenteeism increased by 15 percent and 2 percent respectively in the 2020-2021 school year, with elementary schools in urban districts seeing the largest increase of 18 percent. Ohio defines chronic absenteeism using a national research-based definition of missing 10 percent or more (18 days or more) of the school year, including both excused and unexcused absences. 
When planning for the 2021-2022 school year this summer, understanding the impacts of the pandemic on student attendance will allow districts to connect with community partners to prepare a safe and supportive learning environment when students return in the fall. There are many reasons a student may be chronically absent, and these factors increased due to the pandemic. Some attendance barriers include: 
  • Housing instability;
  • Food insecurity;
  • Unsafe routes to and from school;
  • Not feeling safe in school;
  • Mental health, including trauma;
  • Physical health and serious illness;
  • Access to child care; and
  • Lack of adequate transportation.


Connect Students and Families with Community Partners

Schools cannot address these barriers to attendance alone. Districts and schools should use the summer months to connect students, families and caregivers with community partners, including community support services and mental health services. Helping students and their families access these partners now will enhance school-based services and allow for the collaborative planning of innovative and sustainable opportunities to support students during the school year. Taking a proactive and preventative approach to attendance now will decrease the likelihood students will become chronically absent or truant later in the school year. Building strong relationships with community partners can help families prepare for the school year with the necessary resources to be successful.
Districts and schools can use Ohio’s Whole Child Framework to connect with community partners to decrease attendance barriers. Ohio’s Whole Child Framework provides a blueprint to meet whole child needs, which are foundational to a child’s intellectual and social development and necessary for students to fully engage in learning and school. Students who are healthy, feel safe, are engaged in meaningful instruction, are appropriately challenged, and feel supported will be at school ready, able and eager to learn.  
Regular attendance is essential to a student’s academic and social-emotional success. Students who are chronically absent are missing a significant amount of school, 89% less likely to graduate on time from high school and 65% less likely to meet the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
The Cleveland Browns Foundation, Ohio Department of Education and Proving Ground have provided resources for communities and partners through the Stay in the Game! Network. Attendance Works also provides additional resources on its Community and Agency Partner webpage. Be ahead of the game so students will Stay in the Game!
For additional information about improving student attendance, please contact Brian Knight at (614) 981-8011.

Last Modified: 6/18/2021 3:04:19 PM