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Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism

Every Student, Every Day National Conference:

Eliminating Chronic Absenteeism by Implementing and Strengthening Cross-Sector Systems of Support for All Students

June 9-10, 2016

Location:  DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Crystal City—Washington DC
                300 Army Navy Dr.
                Arlington, VA 22202


The U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Justice (DOJ), is proud to sponsor the Every Student, Every Day National Conference: Eliminating Chronic Absenteeism by Implementing and Strengthening Cross-Sector Systems of Support for All Students.  This conference is a key deliverable of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Initiative and is designed to support state and local efforts to address and eliminate chronic absenteeism among our nation’s most vulnerable students, particularly those attending low-performing schools.  By catalyzing nationwide action to implement and strengthen effective cross-sector early warning and response systems, which are proving integral to addressing chronic absenteeism, we can more effectively improve student achievement and other critical youth outcomes.

New 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection data find that chronic absenteeism puts as many as six million students each year at risk of falling behind or dropping out of school.  Chronic absence data is also a proven early warning sign that a student is off track for school success and graduation.  This is a national problem that must be addressed.  The Every Student, Every Day National Conference will therefore focus participating state and local teams—which will include state education officials, cross-sector system leaders, local school district leaders, early learning providers, and other partners—on federal chronic absenteeism guidance issued by ED, HHS, HUD, and DOJ on how to address and eliminate chronic absenteeism, as well as on best practices from across the country that can help inform effective chronic absenteeism policy and practice that support all our students to attend school daily and succeed in school and in life.

Conference Resources:

  • For a complete agenda, click here.
  • For descriptions of more than 40 workshops being offered at the conference, click here.
  • For speakers bios, click here.
  • To access the new 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection “First Look”, click here.
  • Click here to view a new data story website about chronic absenteeism.


Chronic absenteeism—or missing at least 10 percent of school days in a school year for any reason, excused or unexcused—is a primary cause of low academic achievement and a powerful predictor of those students who may eventually drop out of school. An estimated five to seven and a half million students miss 18 or more days of school each year, or nearly an entire month or more of school, which puts them at significant risk of falling behind academically and failing to graduate from high school. Because they miss so much school, millions of young people miss out on opportunities in post-secondary education and good careers.

Chronic absenteeism is also an equity issue, and it is particularly prevalent among students who are low-income, students of color, students with disabilities, students who are highly mobile, and/or juvenile justice-involved youth—in other words, those who already tend to face significant challenges and for whom school is particularly beneficial. Moreover, chronic absenteeism is often confused with truancy, which can lead to disproportionate suspensions and expulsions from school and inappropriate referrals of students and families to law enforcement.

In response and in support of the President's My Brother's Keeper Initiative (MBK), the U.S. Departments of Education (ED), Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Justice (DOJ) are launching Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism to support coordinated community action that addresses the underlying causes of local chronic absenteeism affecting millions of children in our Nation's public schools each year. We believe that when a diverse coalition of local stakeholders work together to engage and support students who are chronically absent, youth and family outcomes of entire communities can be dramatically improved. In short, we believe chronic absenteeism in communities is a solvable problem.

MBK Success Mentors & Student Supports Initiative

speaker at Success Mentors LaunchAs a part of the President's My Brother's Keeper initiative, the Department and the MBK Task Force have launched MBK Success Mentors the nation's first-ever effort to scale an evidence-based mentor model to reach and support our highest-risk students, using existing trained adults already, or easily, linked to our schools to reduce chronic absenteeism and drive student success. Initially, the model will target the key transition years, sixth and ninth grades, across 30 high-needs school districts, with the goal of eliminating chronic absenteeism in these grades. The model aims to reach 1 million students over the next 3-5 years. June 8th is the White House MBK Success Mentor & Student Supports Summit — where communities from around the nation will convene to mobilize an army of success mentors to drive school success.

The Department has also launched a first-of-its-kind public awareness campaign with the Ad Council tto inform and empower parents by providing information, resources, and support regarding the importance of being in school, every day.

Together, these efforts will help to build a community of problem-solvers and supporters who are working to help all of our students succeed, stay in school, graduate from high school, and go on to fulfill their potential.

Every Student, Every Day Resources

ED, HHS, HUD, and DOJ, as part of the Every Student, Every Day initiative, are pleased to release the following resources:

  • Dear Colleague Letter to States, School Districts and Community on the need to reduce chronic absenteeism by at least 10% each year.

  • Every Student, Every Day: A Community Toolkit to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism. This Toolkit offers information, suggested action steps, and lists of existing tools and resources—including evidence-based resources—for individuals, leaders, and systems to begin or enhance the work of effective, coordinated community action to address and eliminate chronic absenteeism, including actions steps for:

    • Youth
    • Parents and Families
    • Mentors and Volunteers
    • School District Superintendents and Staff, and School Personnel
    • Early Learning Providers
    • Health Care, Public Health & Human Service Agencies & Providers
    • Public Housing Authorities
    • Juvenile Justice and Law Enforcement
    • Homeless Services Providers
    • Mayors and Local Government
    • Community, Faith-Based, and Philanthropic Organizations

  • White House Fact Sheet that includes additional details on Every Student, Every Day, including information on upcoming activities, technical assistance, and events.

  • Every Student, Every Day: A Virtual Summit on Addressing and Eliminating Chronic Absence. The U.S. Department of Education, Attendance Works, Everybody Graduates Center and United Way Worldwide invite you to attend Every Student, Every Day: A Virtual Summit on Addressing and Eliminating Chronic Absence on Nov. 12. This online summit will outline key steps that states, districts and communities can take to improve student achievement by monitoring and reducing chronic absence. Featuring two of the nation's premiere experts on absenteeism: Johns Hopkins researcher Bob Balfanz and Attendance Works Director Hedy Chang, this virtual summit will:

    • Explain the importance of looking beyond average daily attendance rates to identify students who are missing so much school that they are falling behind academically.
    • Share strategies that work for improving attendance and achievement, including positive messaging, family outreach, student incentives and mentoring programs.
    • Highlight the importance of engaging community partners, such as, health providers and criminal justice agencies.

Balfanz and Chang will also introduce school district leaders who are using these strategies to improve attendance and achievement. The summit is hosted by the United Way Worldwide. Please join us. Register today.

Last Modified: 06/10/2016