Here + Healthy

Raise your voice to increase awareness about the connection between health, attendance and learning by signing on to Here + Healthy.

Here + Healthy

Nationwide, a staggering number of children are chronically absent, often at a very young age and often without attracting attention or intervention. While the causes are multi-fold, one stands out as especially significant: student health. Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign are calling on partners across the country to sign on to Here + Healthy and raise their voices about the connection between chronic absenteeism and health.

Chronic absenteeism—most commonly defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days for any reason, excused, unexcused, or suspensions—detracts from learning and is a proven early warning sign of academic risk and school dropout.

Students with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or depression, often miss class because of the symptoms of their illness or because they are receiving medical treatment during the school day. Students can also be chronically absent because of acute health issues such as fever, flu or dental pain. All of these are compounded when students don’t have access to appropriate physical, mental, behavioral, dental and vision health services.

Fortunately there are many evidence-based interventions that can address the health-related causes of chronic absenteeism. But implementing them requires decision makers at all levels—from parents to principals, all the way to state education officers—to use data to understand the health-related causes of chronic absenteeism, demand appropriate solutions, and put political will and funding behind them. Making sure that these groups understand the connection between health, absenteeism and learning is an essential first step.

This fall, states will release their new school report cards under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). State and local report cards hold schools accountable to the public by providing families and the community with important information about each public school. For the first time, these report cards will include chronic absence rates. Because student physical and mental health issues are a leading cause of chronic absenteeism, and because chronic absenteeism can have such an impact on student achievement, the new school report cards present an important opportunity to mobilize stakeholders across many sectors, and raise awareness about the connection between learning and health.

Taking action to address health-related chronic absenteeism can have a powerful impact on students’ academic success and well-being for a lifetime.

What is chronic absenteeism?

Attendance Works defines chronic absenteeism as missing 10 percent or more of the school year for any reason, including excused and unexcused absences, suspensions, and time missed due to changing schools. Missing 10 percent of school is about two days a month on average. If a student misses 10 percent of the the year, they miss almost a full month of school.


What are the health related causes of absenteeism?

Health conditions are a leading cause of chronic absenteeism. Both chronic and acute health conditions can prevent students from attending school. Health-related conditions resulting in missed school days include:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Influenza
  • Mental health, anxiety and trauma
  • Obesity issues
  • Oral health
  • Seizure disorders
  • Vision problems
  • Other chronic and acute health issues
  • Family health issues, such as maternal depression, can also cause chronic absenteeism

What can schools and districts do to address health-related factors and absenteeism?

  • Use data! Utilizing student health data from school climate surveys, public health agencies, health providers and other sources in school needs assessments can help schools understand why students are absent and plan the right interventions.
  • Create a supportive school climate that promotes health and wellbeing, which might include initiative such as Responsive Classroom or Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).
  • Implement an early warning system to identify students at greatest risk of being chronically absent.
  • Improve the indoor and outdoor environment of the school to reduce asthma triggers (e.g., integrated pest management, reducing unnecessary chemicals in the school, bus idling, mold remediation and other issues).
  • Ensure that students have individualized chronic disease management plans (e.g., 504 plans).
  • Utilize staffing structures to support students with a range of needs.
  • Partner with community entities to create wrap-around models of care.

What are the key elements of sustainable action to improve attendance?

Attendance Works sees five key ingredients to making sustainable, systemic changes that improve attendance:

  • Positive Engagement helps build a culture of attendance by taking a positive, not punitive approach, helping everyone understand why going to school every day matters and what they can do to ensure students are in school.
  • Actionable Data can be used to develop reports highlighting chronic absence patterns by school, grade, and student subgroups so that decision-makers can take action.
  • Capacity Building ensures school staff and community partners understand what chronic absence is, why it matters for student achievement and success, how it differs from truancy, and how to respond effectively by organizing a multi-tiered approach to reducing absenteeism.
  • Shared Accountability means that chronic absenteeism is incorporated into the systems used by districts and states to measure progress and identify areas of concern.
  • Strategic Partnerships between district and community partners can help schools address systemic barriers to attendance.

Raise your voice

By signing on to Here + Healthy, your organization is committing to:

  • Educate your networks about the inclusion of chronic absenteeism in state and local report cards
  • Use data to understand the key health-related causes of chronic absenteeism at the local and state levels
  • Raise your voice about the critical role that student health issues play in keeping children out of school
  • Share the proven solutions that can ensure children are in school, healthy and ready to learn










    Hidden Section
    Event + Webinar Template
     Form Name - 2018.10.22 - Here + Healthy Sign On

    2018.04.23 - added custom code to detect javascript
    2018.03.15 - included added data in gotowebinar connector, state etc
    2018.02.26 - Modified the state field to drop down, previously was multi select





Here + Healthy is led by:


Participants

Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign are proud to join with other organizations to raise awareness of the critical connection between health, attendance and learning. Use the “Sign On” tab to add your organization’s name and voice to this page, and check back soon to find out more about our partners.

Chronic Absenteeism Resources

Access related resources below, or go to our main Resource Center to access resources across all of our program and policy areas.

pdf

Here + Healthy Factsheet

Nationwide, a staggering number of children are chronically absent, often at a very young age and often without attracting attention or intervention. While the causes are multi-fold, one stands out as especially significant: student health. Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign are calling on partners across the country to sign on to Here + Healthy and raise their voices about the connection between chronic absenteeism and health.

pdf

Here + Healthy Campaign Call to Action

Nationwide, a staggering number of children are chronically absent. While the causes are multi-fold, one stands out as especially significant: student health. Taking action to address health-related chronic absenteeism can have a powerful impact on students’ academic success and well-being for a lifetime! Healthy Schools Campaign and Attendance Works are calling on partners across the country to sign on to the Here + Healthy campaign to raise awareness about the connection between chronic absenteeism and health.

pdf

Education Data for Health Systems: Challenges and Opportunities

This brief highlights existing efforts to integrate education data, such as chronic absenteeism, into health and public health accountability systems, describes common barriers and best practices, and suggests key opportunities for further exploration to advance this work.

Related Programs:

pdf

Addressing Chronic Absenteeism through ESSA Implementation

ESSA presents an important opportunity to create public accountability around chronic absenteeism and ensure state ESSA plans support a comprehensive approach to address chronic absenteeism. This document highlights various approaches that stakeholders might use to leverage ESSA to support efforts to address chronic absenteeism.

pdf

Addressing the Health-Related Causes of Chronic Absenteeism

Taking action to address health-related chronic absenteeism can have a powerful impact on students’ academic success and well-being for a lifetime. This document focuses on preparing educators—particularly school district decision-makers —with knowledge and practical guidance for creating meaningful change to address health-related chronic absenteeism.

pdf

Oregon: Chronic Absenteeism Statewide Plan

Oregon's statewide plan to address chronic absenteeism takes a strategic multi-sector approach that can provide useful examples for other states. As explained in the plan: "Chronic absenteeism is a complex issue that requires a thoughtful and complex response. Schools and students cannot fix this problem alone. Cross-sector partnerships with local and state health agencies, community based organizations, community and business members, with families must be leveraged to provide essential wrap around support to address the root causes of chronic absenteeism for all students. Creating these partnerships and welcoming school environments can impact absenteeism rates, as well as high school graduation, school discipline, and academic performance. Best and promising practices are most successful when they are systematically applied with knowledge of the local context."

web link

School Attendance, Chronic Health Conditions and Leveraging Data for Improvement: Recommendations for State Education and Health Departments to Address Student Absenteeism

This publication highlights how state education and health departments can help lead the way in reducing absenteeism through a comprehensive approach that is inclusive of addressing chronic health conditions. It describes connections between school attendance and chronic health conditions, discusses challenges and opportunities for data collection and use, and promotes the integration of school health services, specifically nursing, into efforts to improve school attendance. The document provides recommendations for action and features successes within various states and communities.

pdf

Healthy and Ready to Learn: Recommendations to the Next Administration

We can create a better future for our children and our nation by improving health in schools. The next President of the United States has the opportunity to support states, school districts and communities in creating the conditions of student health and wellness and giving all children a chance for a healthy, brighter tomorrow. This document outlines Healthy Schools Campaign’s recommendations to the next President for improving health and education for our nation's students.

pdf

Letter of Support for Chronic Absenteeism

October 5, 2015 Dear Secretary Duncan, We the undersigned organizations are writing to express our support of the U.S. Department of Education’s national effort to address chronic absenteeism. We commend you for your leadership in increasing awareness of chronic absenteeism as a national problem and we are committed to working with you to support efforts to eliminate chronic absenteeism in our nation’s schools.

Related Programs: ,

pdf

Brief on Chronic Absenteeism and School Health

National Collaborative on Health and Education Brief on Chronic Absenteeism and School Health, May 2015

Related Programs: ,