Information in the menus below was updated in May 2020. To contribute information that may be of interest to others in your country, please contact your country’s hosts: Christopher Kearney (chris.kearney@unlv.edu), Brian Chu (BrianChu@rci.rutgers.edu), Carolyn Gentle-Genitty (cgentleg@iu.edu), or Jake Brosius (Jake.Brosius@indy.gov). 

People, groups, and organizations

Not for profit:

  • The International Association for Truancy and Drop-out Prevention (IATDP) is an association of educators, government officials and stakeholders whose history of truancy and dropout prevention efforts date back to 1911. 
  • Attendance Works is a national and state initiative to advance student success by reducing chronic absence. 
  • The National Centre for School Engagement (NCSE) collaborates with school districts, law enforcement agencies, courts, and state and federal agencies to support youth and their families to be engaged at school. We pay special attention to truancy, dropout, and bullying prevention. 
  • Advocates for Children of New Jersey focuses on several issues surrounding child welfare, including “early care and education” and “school attendance.”
  • School Refusal Hope offers information and resources for parents that are struggling to assist children experiencing school avoidance. Topics include possible mental health diagnoses, communicating with the school, and more. 
  • National Dropout Prevention Center - Model Programs Database is a searchable database of research-based programs and information. It includes models for Tier 1 (prevention) work. 

Current and upcoming activities and achievements

Past activities and achievements

Helpful links and other resources

  • The “Every Student Succeeds Act” is the US law on national education and commitment to equal opportunity for all students. 
  • US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.
  • US Department of Education - “Chronic Absenteeism in the Nation’s Schools.”
  • American Council for School Social Work (ACSSW) advocates for the practice of school social work and supports school social workers in their service to students, schools, and families to overcome social, systemic, economic and mental health barriers to student learning. Helpful links recommended by ACSSW are listed below.
  • Research Regarding School Attendance, Discipline, and Absenteeism
    • Reconciling Contemporary Approaches to School Attendance and School Absenteeism: Toward Promotion and Nimble Response, Global Policy Review and Implementation, and Future Adaptability
      • In this two-part publication, Dr. Christopher Kearney and colleagues outline the complex nature of school attendance and absenteeism (SA/A), including varying definitions of the issue and the diverse methods by which it has been measured. Following this summation, the authors describe how this myriad of foundations for understanding SA/A has led to additional complexity in addressing the concerns. Yet, there are areas in which these differing approaches have commonalities. By exploring these commonalities and the respective conclusions, the authors pose that an approach based in a multidimensional Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to handling SA/A may be effective. This system empowers schools to utilize multiple levels of intervention, from policies and programs presented to all students to concentrated efforts addressing increasing absences with parents and families to deploying targeted interventions characterized by the needs of the student. Beyond these efforts, a multi-dimensional MTSS also asks schools to consider the diversity in their student populations. Overall, Dr. Kearney and his colleagues attempt to comprehensively demonstrate how school attendance and absenteeism has been previously characterized, analyzed, and addressed, looking for commonalities and potential solutions.
    • Helping Families of Youth with School Attendance Problems: A Practical Guide for Mental Health and School-Based Professionals
      • Helping Families of Youth with School Attendance Problems is a real-world guide to addressing school attendance problems at different levels of severity and complexity. The book offers specific procedures for many types of cases to address these problems in a relatively short period of time, and within the constraints of most private practice and school settings. The text also considers developmental level, with distinct coverage of elementary school children as well as adolescents in middle school and in high school. The book consists of seven empirically-supported chapters that guide readers through assessment, consultation, and intervention processes. Given the limited timeframe frequently faced by mental health and school-based professionals, these processes are often blended. Beginning with an overview of school attendance problems, the heart of the book offers core intervention components as well as other procedures to enhance the effectiveness of these components. These components cover key aspects of anxiety and contingency management, school reintegration, and school engagement as well as suggestions for many specific scenarios. The final chapter focuses on chronic and severe school attendance problems and other highly challenging scenarios common to these young people.
    • A Change in the Frame: From Absenteeism to Attendance
      • School attendance is important for student long-term academic and career success. However, in the U.S., our current practice often disenfranchises more at-risk students than it helps. Students slated for suspension and expulsion are often recipients of these practices. This manuscript offers a recommended change in how we frame student absenteeism and attendance using attendance markers and conceptual information by identifying the discrepancies, proposing options, and recommending a new way to actively leverage attendance data (not absenteeism data) for proactive student support. Particular attention is paid to how excused and unexcused absences and in-school suspensions are treated. An emerging pivot program, the Evaluation and Support Program, engages students while they receive school services, community support, and complete consequences is discussed as a possible, promising intervention.
    • A Multidimensional, Multi-tiered System of Supports Model to Promote School Attendance and Address School Absenteeism
      • School attendance and school completion are important benchmarks of successful development. Unfortunately, school absenteeism and school dropout remain debilitating and prevalent conditions among youth. Stakeholders invested in promoting school attendance and reducing school absenteeism generally agree that multifaceted ecological frameworks are needed to account for these heterogeneous problems as well as differences across local education agencies and broader jurisdictions. A multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) framework emphasizes many aspects that match well with school attendance and its problems, including prevention and a continuum of supports, screening, evidence-based assessment and intervention, problem-solving and data-based decision-making, implementation fidelity, and natural embedding into extant school improvement plans. This article outlines a multidimensional MTSS model for school attendance and absenteeism to account for recent developments regarding service delivery within schools. Such developments include integrated models of multi-tiered service delivery to concurrently address multiple domains of functioning, the development of more nuanced approaches for students with various challenges, and consideration of three-dimensional (pyramidal) perspectives to allow simultaneous and yet nuanced strategies for several domain clusters. Sample domain clusters common to the literature that could populate the multiple dimensions or sides of a MTSS pyramid model for school attendance and absenteeism are presented. These domain clusters include (1) school refusal/truancy/school withdrawal/school exclusion, (2) functional profiles and analysis, (3) preschool/elementary/middle/high school, (4) ecological levels of impact on school attendance and its problems, and (5) low/moderate/high absenteeism severity. Recommendations are made as well regarding broader MTSS integration and implementation science vis-à-vis school attendance and its problems.
    • School Discipline and Social Work Practice: Application of Research and Theory to Intervention
      • Abstract: Research has identified a relationship between school disciplinary actions and poor academic and psychosocial functioning of students subjected to them. The ways in which school discipline is a direct contributor to students’ academic and psychosocial difficulty needs to be further established empirically. Several theories, based in existing research and theory in sociology of education and educational psychology, have been proposed to explain the school discipline-student dysfunction relationship. They generally suggest three pathways: disciplinary actions may contribute to students’ psychological problems; student misbehavior may be encouraged through ineffective and unintentionally paradoxical learning experiences; and disciplinary practices may damage students’ relationship with school. School social workers and others working with children who have been disciplined at school can use these research findings and theories as an assessment framework to guide their interventions. The awareness of the iatrogenic potential of school discipline and informed assessment can support a range of evidence-based alternatives to school discipline.
  • Additional articles

Disclaimer: INSA’s Mission encourages us to disseminate as much readily available information as possible, without judgement. The sharing of this information should not be seen as an endorsement by INSA. People, groups, and organisations are separated into ‘for profit’ (fees are charged for services) and ‘not for profit’ (including charities, who may charge no fees or nominal fees for services). Please access and use this information with proper judgement.

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