Chronic absenteeism

Chronic absenteeism, defined as missing 15 or more days per school year, affects more than 6 million students per year and is strongly correlated with poor academic performance. In Arizona, chronic absenteeism has an effect on students in all grades and in all socio-economic sectors.

Additionally, in Arizona, kindergarten enrollment is not a requirement. Consequently, many parents in the communities that we serve do not enroll their children in school until 1st grade. This lack of enrollment, as well as early grade chronic absenteeism, cause students to be significantly behind their peers who have attended early childhood programs and/or who have strong attendance records.

Research shows that kindergarten attendance, and consistent school attendance in early grades, provides long-term educational gains that help to close achievement gaps, particularly for low-income and minority students. It is vital that parents understand how important kindergarten enrollment and regular school attendance is for their child’s long-term academic success.

In addition, we need to provide parents with solutions that help them improve attendance and to demystify the enrollment process. It is vital that parents, particularly in our low-income and minority communities, understand the importance of regular school attendance and kindergarten enrollment for their child’s long-term academic success and receive practical solutions to help increase attendance.

What can you do about it?

As a parent or guardian, you make all the difference. Let me say that again: you make all the difference. To make things easier, we’ve put together a list of four things you can pledge to ensure our kids are getting the most out of school.

  • Create evening and morning routines.

  • Talk to your child about his or her day.

  • Read with your child daily.

  • Connect with your child’s teachers.

If we work together, we can begin to reduce and reverse chronic absenteeism by taking simple steps every single day.


  • Research shows that there is a strong link between high rates of absenteeism and later struggles in school.

  • Missing just ten days of school is incredibly harmful to a child’s academic success and is an alarming warning sign for dropping out of high school later in life.

  • Three days of missed school a month can set a student back one to two years academically.

  • Twenty percent of Arizona children miss a month of school every year.

  • More than ten percent of any given student body in Arizona is missing ten percent of the school year.


Attendance Works
The mission of Attendance Works is to advance student success and help close equity gaps by reducing chronic absence.

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