September is Attendance Awareness Month: Attendance Matters to Afterschool Providers & Champions

September is Attendance Awareness Month: Attendance Matters to Afterschool Providers & Champions

Attending school regularly is essential to students gaining the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to thrive. Chronic absence, no matter its cause, has real-life consequences for students, families, and society. Research shows that starting as early as preschool and kindergarten, chronic absence—missing 10% of the academic year—can leave third graders unable to read proficiently, sixth graders struggling with coursework and high school students off track for graduation.

Reducing absenteeism is an essential but often overlooked strategy for responding strategically to the academic and social-emotional loss experienced by millions of students. Practical strategies to improve attendance can benefit the entire community. Community-based organizations can use school and district attendance data to identify which student groups have lost out most on learning opportunities and ensure they are prioritized in recovery planning.

So, why does attendance matter to expanded learning providers? Focusing on attendance has multiple benefits. First, regular attendance and participation in a comprehensive program increase impact on social and academic outcomes. Second, research shows that quality programs can improve school-day attendance. These programs provide a sense of belonging, connection to caring adults, and academic enrichment outside of the school day, all of which make children more likely to go to school. 

Expanded learning providers can make a difference and give children and youth a reason to attend school!

  • Engage students in enriching activities: Innovative, stimulating activities keep students coming to your program and school.
  • Establish a welcoming environment that promotes a sense of safety and belonging.
  • Promote a routine of regular attendance: Take the time to acknowledge and notice each child every day they attend the program, and express concern if they are absent. Don’t forget to celebrate improvements.
  • Share the importance of regular attendance with students and parents.
  • Provide access to resources.
  • Record program attendance accurately.
  • Share data with feeder schools or the school district: Let the school(s) know about student attendance in expanded learning programs.
  • Use chronic absence data when deploying resources.
  • Offer supports to improve attendance. Serve as a bridge to the school and community resources for parents and caregivers who may have had negative school experiences.

The Attendance Awareness Campaign 2022 concept paper describes the campaign in more detail.

 The Delaware Afterschool Network is proud to be the State Affiliate for Attendance Works. For more information about the attendance awareness campaign, visit DEAN’s website (

Source: Attendance Works