Chronic Absenteeism


The Nevada Department of Education believes that: 

  • Attendance is a critical component of educational equity, ensuring all students can access the resources and support needed for educational success.
  • The connection between student attendance and learning is clear: a missed school day is a lost opportunity for students to learn.


A student is absent if they are not physically on school grounds and are not participating in instruction or instruction-related activities at an approved off-grounds location for the school day. 

  • Chronically absent students include students who are absent for any reason (e.g., illness, suspension, the need to care for a family member), regardless of whether absences are excused or unexcused.
  • Students who are absent 10% or more of their enrolled school days are considered chronically absent.

A Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

Attendance is a critical component of educational equity, ensuring all students can access the resources and support needed for educational success. Leveraging a MTSS framework allows for data based decisions of resources to address chronic absenteeism. Core elements of an MTSS approach provide an ideal framework by which schools, parents, and communities can address and support the needs of all Nevada students. By establishing a continuum of supports (e.g., Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3), school teams can use data to drive decisions specifically aimed at increasing attendance.

Did you Know?

  • 5 to 7.5 million students are chronically absent each year.
  • Students who are chronically absent are less likely to succeed academically and more likely to drop out of school.
  • Chronic absenteeism affects students who benefit from school the most, especially students who are low-income, students of color, homeless children, students with disabilities, students who are highly mobile, and/or juvenile justice-involved youth.
  • It only takes one to two absences per month for a student to be considered chronically absent?

What can Districts and Schools do?

  • Understand the research about chronic absenteeism, which students are most often affected and how it affects them. Ensure awareness among school personnel.
  • Use data from early warning prevention and intervention systems to track daily attendance and identify students who are, or are at-risk of becoming, chronically absent and intervene before they miss too much school. Designate a team of employees tasked with developing and carrying out plans to prevent pupils from becoming chronically absent. Collect existing and new data that enable answering attendance related questions, for example, (a) What is current attendance rates? (b) Which and how many students are attending and not attending? (c) When and how often are students not attending? (d) What percent of students are chronically not attending school?
  • Revise discipline policies to remove punitive consequences such as suspension and expulsion for chronically absent students, and implement supports for such students. Use evidence-based restorative disciplinary practices for pupils who are at risk of becoming chronically absent, being deemed truant pursuant to NRS 392.130 or being declared a habitual truant pursuant to NRS 392.14.
  • Engage third-party providers and agencies—in a manner consistent with applicable State law and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)—that can provide additional support services to students who are chronically absent and to their families.
  • Support and engage in community-wide, cross-sector efforts to eliminate chronic absenteeism among students within the community by addressing its underlying causes.
  • Regularly communicate to all staff, students, and their families about the importance of daily attendance and the availability of any support services that can help keep students in school and on track to success.
  • Acknowledge students and families that demonstrate improved attendance, and use that occasion as an opportunity to reinforce the importance of daily school attendance.
  • Direct instruction on skills related to greater success getting to school (e.g., transportation, sleep and eating routines, homework completion) or at school (e.g., academic study, requesting assistance, conflict management, problem solving, managing bullying and other harassment).
  • Incentivize attendance (e.g., token economies, monetary incentives, social recognition).
  • Increase academic supports (e.g., peer tutoring, small group and/or individual instruction, instructional accommodations).
  • Use mentoring programs

  • Use a Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS), such as PBIS, for organizing a continuum of intervention supports for attendance. Develop an implementation plan that includes monitoring of student progress and responsiveness and of implementation fidelity. Develop adaptations and enhancements based on student responsiveness and implementation fidelity.
  • Engage family supports (e.g., positive home-school communication, access to community resources, training on home-based strategies, school-home community behavior support planning).
  • Integrate school-based mental health supports (e.g., integrated community mental health supports, interdisciplinary mental and behavioral health planning) for chronic challenges (e.g., substance use, school avoidance/phobia, juvenile delinquency, homelessness, and gang involvement).
  • Identify chronic physical health supports (e.g., asthma, diabetes, obesity).

    What can Parents and Families do?

    • Make getting to school on time everyday a high priority in your family.\Talk with your child about the importance of school attendance from an early age and the negative effects of too many absences.
    • When necessary, create a safe space for your child to share what’s keeping them from participating in school on a regular basis.Have a back-up plan for getting your child to school when there are difficulties with transportation, family illness, or other challenges.
    • Schedule doctor and other appointments for after-school hours whenever possible.
    • Monitor students’ school attendance to make sure your child is in class every day.
    • Contact your child’s school to discuss supports and services that can help your child maintain regular school attendance.

      The Nevada Department of Education Supports Schools and Districts by:

      • Requiring methods for recording and reporting data necessary for the management of chronic absenteeism
      • Providing methods for the prevention of chronic absenteeism, including, without limitation, methods for engaging the parents or legal guardians of pupils to prevent chronic absenteeism
      • Providing methods for the early identification of and intervention with pupils who are at risk of becoming chronically absent, including, without limitation, the use of instruments to screen pupils for risk factors associated with chronic absenteeism
      • Ensuring data is high-quality and consistent
      • Ensuring that school report cards are easy to understand so there is transparency around chronic absenteeism in communities
      • Offering guidance and materials on effective strategies for reducing chronic absence

        Disclaimer: The Nevada Department of Education does not in any way signify the endorsement or recommendation of any resources provided. The resources are provided as a convenience.