Family and Community Collaboration Strategy: Working Together to Improve Student Attendance

Key Strategies
Districts can collaborate with families and communities to support student attendance by:

  • Collaborating with families to identify barriers to attendance.
  • Building partnerships with community groups to address barriers to school attendance, like students’ transportation and housing.
  • Using student attendance interventions as opportunities for wholistic assessments and service referrals.

Being present most days that school is in session is critical to positive student outcomes and academic success, yet chronic absenteeism is a challenge in many schools. Districts across the country have attendance intervention processes in place to address this challenge. Districts can use these interventions as opportunities for increased family and community collaboration (FCC) and address the root causes of absenteeism. Asking families what they need, incorporating their perspectives, and providing additional resources allows for schools, districts, families, and communities to work together to create and support an attendance plan for each student. 

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East Side Union High School District Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) 

 An example of a supportive attendance process can be seen in East Side Union High School District (East Side), a district in San Jose, CA, with a population of over 20,000 students. This district has a holistic, family-focused Student Attendance Review Board made up of faculty, caregivers, and community partners. The goal of East Side’s Student Attendance Review Board is to support students and families struggling with chronic absenteeism and truancy.   

One strategy the SARB uses is to host a district-wide, all-day partner fair, where students who are chronically absent, truant or at risk for truancy, their caregivers, and district staff have the chance to connect with community-based partners that can directly meet their needs. For example, community partners may help families find appropriate after-school programs, housing, or transportation to support their student’s attendance and academic success.   

East Side’s intervention serves as a fantastic model for other districts to replicate and expound on. By recognizing that there are many root causes behind poor attendance, and by striving to implement a proactive, assets-based collaborative strategy, districts can effectively remove barriers to attending school and help ensure that every student can reach their full potential. 


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