Addressing Chronic Absenteeism through Every Student, Every Day

April 11, 2016

This June, state teams from across the country will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the first Every Student, Every Day National Conference. The Every Student, Every Day National Conference will support federal, state and local action to eliminate chronic absenteeism, reengage chronically absent students and their families, and improve student achievement and other critical youth outcomes.

Healthy Schools Campaign is playing an active role in supporting the development of this national conference and sees it as an important opportunity to implement and strengthen cross-sector systems of support for all students to ensure that students are in school and ready to learn.

The national conference, which is being hosted by the U.S. Department of Education in collaboration with the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Justice, is part of the Every Student, Every Day initiative. The Every Student, Every Day initiative is a cross-sector initiative aimed at helping states, school districts and communities address the root causes of chronic absenteeism, including health-related causes. The National Collaborative on Education and Health, which we co-convene with Trust for America’s Health, played a key role in catalyzing the launch of this initiative.

While the conference is not an open event and is only open to participants serving on cross-sector state teams, there are a number of opportunities to get involved and ensure your state is participating:

  • Contact your state chief education officer about the conference: The save the date for the national conference was sent to all state chief education officers and their school improvement grant and Title I directors in mid-March. Contact your state officials to determine if they plan to send a cross-sector state team to the conference to represent your state. If they are not planning on attending, speak to them about the significant impact student chronic absenteeism has on student success and why it is critical for them to participate in this conference.
  • Submit a proposal to present: A request for workshop proposals was sent out last month by the U.S. Department of Education. Workshop proposals will be accepted from federal, state and local agencies, school districts, schools, nonprofit, labor, philanthropic, community-based organizations, research organizations and other parties. Conference workshops should connect participants with research and evidence-based policies and practices that support the design and implementation of multi-tiered, cross-sector systems of support to link chronically absent students and their families with education, health, housing, and/or justice-related interventions, programs and preventative services. The request for proposals is available to view and complete here. We encourage you to apply if your agency or organization has best practices to share regarding how to address chronic absenteeism.
  • Create or join a state team: If you are working in a state or local agency or organization that has made a commitment to addressing chronic absenteeism or serve on a state committee committed to this issue, we encourage you to contact your chief state school officer about this national conference and the possibility of attending. State teams should include cross-sector representatives and have the capacity to return to their states after the conference to continue work on this issue. Key benefits of attending the conference will include having the chance to network and share best practices with other cross-sector state teams, receiving technical assistance to inform and improve state policy and local practice and learning from national experts.

The Every Student, Every Day National Conference presents an important opportunity to support efforts across the country to address chronic absenteeism and, whether it’s through contacting your chief state school officer, submitting a workshop proposal or attending, we encourage you to be engaged in this important effort.

We are actively working to ensure the conference includes a focus on the health-related causes of chronic absenteeism and that states and school districts have the knowledge and skills necessary to support the connection between student health and attendance. We look forward to sharing additional information with you about the national conference and the exciting work it catalyzes.