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Attendance Best Practices

Best Practices

CDE collects information on best practices for addressing and responding to attendance.  These resources are provided to help schools and districts organize efforts and are not required practices.

Attendance Awareness Month – September

There are two frameworks for building strong systems of support that CDE recommends schools and districts examine.

  • Tiered or multi-level system of support:  Similar to other school-based approaches to improving systems, strong attendance systems work most efficiently when there are multiple levels of support designed around the need of the school or district including:
    • Tier 1: Pro-active whole school strategies that promote whole school attendance by providing a safe, welcoming, and engaging environment.
    • Tier 2: Targeted supports and strategies that ensure when students miss school there are a variety of responses and supports to address student and family needs.
    • Tier 3:  Intensive supports and strategies that provide specific support based on student and family needs.
  • Strong conditions for learning:   Strong attendance can be impacted by strong conditions for learning and many of these conditions provide the necessary framework for interventions to be most effective.  This framework is borrowed from a paper written by the American Institute for Research (AIR) and Attendanceworks.

Six small kids standing with their arms around each other, smiling and laughing in the classroom.

Attendance interventions/Promising Practices

There are a number of attendance interventions or strategies that research has shown to be effective at improving attendance and in some cases other behavior or academic outcomes.  The information below is compiled from a variety of organizations that have conducted research on the strategies and CDE has not done specific research on the impact of these programs in Colorado schools.

  • Attendanceworks strategy page: This page provides research summaries of evidence based solutions to improving attendance.
  • FutureEd Attendance playbook: This playbook provides summary information about a number of tier 1, 2, and 3 strategies.
  • Reducing Chronic Absenteeism:  This brief summarizes research on strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism.
  • Home visits:  Researchers have found that proactive, positive home visits can lead to increased student attendance.  Below are examples of home visit practices from Colorado and nationally.
    • Connecticut:  This home visit program was implemented in 2020-2022 and researchers found an impact on student attendance.
    • Colorado Promising Practices: This link includes examples of schools and districts across Colorado that implement home visits.

Sickness related absences

The Colorado Department of Public Health has updated guidance on “How sick is too sick?” for attending school (Summer 2023).  CDE encourages districts and communities to talk with health professionals in the district and schools to help create updated guidance and communication and discuss how disease prevention measures can reduce the spread of illness and improve attendance.

English and Spanish Version of the CDPHE guidance.