District of Columbia - Family Engagement on Chronic Absenteeism: Program requirements

Program Requirement
Policy Type: 

State law involves parents in responding to truancy or chronic absenteeism using non-punitive or supportive interventions.


2103.1 An educational institution shall implement a specific protocol for absenteeism (absenteeism protocol) including a focus on prevention of unexcused absences, also referred to as truancy, and academic and behavioral interventions to address the needs of students.

2103.2 Each LEA shall incorporate evidence-based practice into its absenteeism protocol, considering procedures to address the following:

  • (a) A description of valid excused absences consistent with this chapter;
  • (b) A process for informing, training, and educating school staff, students, parents, guardians, and the community with regard to enhancing school attendance, implementing truancy reduction methods, administering attendance policies and procedures, and related collaborative services; and
  • (c) Procedures for monitoring, reporting, addressing, and evaluating attendance and absences consistent with District of Columbia attendance and absence reporting requirements including:
    • (1) A procedure requiring reasonable and diligent attempts to make personal contact with the parent or guardian of a student, on the same day and each time a student has the equivalent of one (1) day of unexcused absence, with daily follow-ups as necessary;
    • (2) A continuum of school practices and services including meaningful supports, incentives, intervention strategies, and consequences for dealing with absenteeism and consultation with parents or guardians, both at the onset of absenteeism and in those circumstances where chronic absenteeism persists, which continuum shall not include off-site suspension and/or expulsion as intervention strategies;
    • (3) A referral process whereby within two (2) school days after a student has accumulated five (5) or more unexcused absences in one (1) marking period or other similar time frame, the student shall be referred to a school-based student support team which will meet within five (5) school days of the referral and regularly thereafter to:
      • (A) Review and address the student's attendance and determine the underlying cause(s) for the student's unexcused absences;
      • (B) Employ reasonable and diligent efforts to communicate and to collaborate with the student and parents or guardian;
      • (C) Communicate and collaborate with the student's existing Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, as applicable;
      • (C) Provide timely response to the student's truant behavior;
      • (D) Make recommendations for academic, diagnostic, or social work services;
      • (E) Use school and community resources to abate the student's truancy including referral to a community-based organization when available; and
      • (F) Develop and implement an action plan in consultation with the student and student's parents or guardian;
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