Smiling graduates

Why Attendance Matters

There's a very strong correlation between good attendance and success in school. On the other hand, students who regularly miss school are also more likely to struggle in school.

Missed days add up quickly: Just two days a month puts a child's success in jeopardy because students fall behind and disconnect. By third grade, it gets much more difficult to catch up. Students who regularly miss school can quickly feel hopeless, and returning becomes harder and harder.

The reasons for chronic absenteeism are understandable but they must be addressed. Troubleshooting issues that are keeping a student away from school can make a difference immediately and for the long term. Students with solid attendance are much more likely to be successful during school and after graduation.

State Efforts

The Oregon Department of Education has made improving chronic absenteeism a high priority, knowing that helping to identify and solve a student's root causes for regularly missing school is key to Oregon's larger effort to improve high school graduation. Oregon HB 4002 provided funding to support districts in their efforts to reduce chronic absenteeism.

District Efforts

Across Oregon, school districts are working to improve attendance through a combination of efforts. These include improving data collection, removing barriers for students, caregivers, and families, creating a school culture where all students are connected to an adult, and leverage community partners to build a cross-community initiatives, that raise awareness around attending school regularly and post graduation success.

Community-Based Solutions

However, many issues contribute to chronic absenteeism, and schools are looking to their communities and families for help as they develop solutions for each child. These might include easier fixes such as carpooling, or more difficult challenges such as helping connect families with housing.


If you are interested in understanding chronic absenteeism and its impact on a child's success, you might appreciate the following reports:

Case Studies

There are many case studies on chronic absenteeism and improvement projects. If you have a story to share, please contact us. Here are a few to get you started:

Missing just 2 days of school a month means a student has missed 10% of the school year. Missing that much school – whether excused or not – puts students at risk of failing to graduate on time. Helping identify and solve a student's root causes for regularly missing school is one important part of Oregon's larger effort to improve high school graduation.

Did You Know?

Children who are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade are 18% less likely to graduate.*

Students are considered at risk when they are chronically absent – that's 10% of the school year.

1 in 6 Oregon children is chronically absent.*

* Oregon's Chronic Absenteeism Plan

School + You: Tips for Attendance

Getting to school can be tough. These tips can help students overcome obstacles and be in school – with help from others.

Build Relationships

Students do best in a safe and welcoming environment. Schools and families can help with this by:

  • Ensuring every student is connected with an adult within his or her school who can watch for issues and help with solutions.
  • Building relationships with classmates and peers.
  • Planning for success by having attendance goals and addressing possible obstacles in advance.

Plan Ahead

Things don’t always go smoothly. Planning ahead can help you be ready for issues with:

  • Transportation (Explore carpool, bus, safe walk/bike options.)
  • After school pick-up and care (Have a back-up!)

Ask for Help

These are common reasons students miss school. Visit to learn about local community resources, or ask your school for suggestions.

  • Shelter
  • Health issues
  • Acute or chronic illness
  • Mental health services
  • Social emotional supports
  • Behavioral support
  • Oral (mouth and teeth) health
  • Food
  • Clothing

Use Life Hacks

Work on household routines to make it easier to get out the door. Download this document for ideas to help with the following:

  • Evening routines
  • Homework help
  • Getting ready
  • Planning for the day