How to Improve School Attendance

A Practical Guide for Schools and School Districts
A Project of the Los Angeles County Education Coordinating Council


Module 1: Attendance — Page 1

Many factors cause child­ren to miss school, but re­search shows that one over­whelming element is pover­ty. Child­ren in pover­ty are more likely to lack basic health and safety sup­ports, and poor child­ren are four times more likely than others to be chronic­ally absent in kinder­garten.

Chronic absences in kinder­garten and first grade make students less likely to read pro­ficient­ly in third grade, and can also lead to unsatis­factory fifth-grade out­comes. Chronic ab­sences in sixth grade are a predictor of lower rates of grad­uation from high school, and ninth-grade attend­ance pat­terns have been shown to ac­curate­ly predict a student's likeli­hood of graduating.


Attendance terms used by the Los Angeles Unified School District and other districts are defined in Module 1 Appendix A: Frequently Used Attendance Terms.

The LAUSD's job des­crip­tion for Pupil Services and Attend­ance (PSA) counselor is included in Module 1 Appendix B: Sample PSA Counselor Job Descrip­tion.


Three-Tiered Intervention Model for Attendance

Figures 9a and 9b shows the Los Angeles Unified School District's three-tiered attend­ance inter­vention model. (10)

Click here to view Figure 9a. Click here to view Figure 9b.

Figure 10 shows the form the Alhambra Unified School District uses for its attendance referrals, also based on the three-tiered model. (11)

Click here to view Figure 10.



10 Los Angeles Unified School District Pupil Services
11 Alhambra Unified School District

Figure 11 shows the attend­ance best practices used by the Baltimore City Schools. (12)

Click here to view Figure 11.

Figures 12a and 12b show a sample attendance contract. (13)

Click here to view Figure 12a.

Click here to view Figure 12b.

Figures 13a and 13b show a sample referral form to a Student Support Team. (14)

Click here to view Figure 13a.

Click here to view Figure 13b.



12, 13, 14 Baltimore City Public Schools

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