State law encourages or requires districts to address truancy or chronic absenteeism through the provision of comprehensive student support services.
Colorado Revised Statutes 22-11-302. School district accountability committee - powers and duties
(g) To increase the level of parent engagement in the school district and in the public schools of the school district, especially the engagement of parents of students in the populations described in section 22-11-301 (3). The committee's activities to increase parent engagement must include, but need not be limited to:
- (III) Assisting school personnel to increase parents' engagement with educators, including but not limited to parents' engagement in creating students' READ plans pursuant to part 12 of article 7 of this title, in creating individual career and academic plans pursuant to section 22-32-109 (1)(oo), and in creating plans to address habitual truancy pursuant to section 22-33-107 (3).
Colorado Revised Statutes 22-11-402. School accountability committee - powers and duties - meetings
(1) Each school accountability committee has the following powers and duties:
(a) To recommend to the principal of its school priorities for spending school moneys. The principal shall consider the school accountability committee's recommendations regarding spending state, federal, local, or private grants and any other discretionary moneys and take them into account in formulating budget requests for presentation to the local school board, if the school is a district public school, other than a charter school, or in creating the school budget if the school is a district or institute charter school. The school accountability committee for a district public school shall send a copy of its recommended spending priorities to the school district accountability committee and to the local school board.
(b) To advise the principal of the public school and, in the case of a district public school, the superintendent of the school district concerning the preparation of a school performance or improvement plan, if either is required pursuant to section 22-11-210, and to submit recommendations to the principal, and superintendent if applicable, concerning the contents of the performance or improvement plan;
(c) To advise the local school board or the institute concerning the preparation of a school priority improvement or turnaround plan, if either is required pursuant to section 22-11-210, and to submit recommendations to the local school board or the institute concerning the contents of the priority improvement or turnaround plan;
(d) To meet at least quarterly to discuss whether school leadership, personnel, and infrastructure are advancing or impeding implementation of the public school's performance, improvement, priority improvement, or turnaround plan, whichever is applicable, or other progress pertinent to the public school's accreditation contract with the local school board or the institute;
(e) To provide input and recommendations on an advisory basis to district accountability committees and district administration concerning:
(I) Principal development plans for their principal pursuant to section 22-9-106; and
(II) Principal evaluations conducted pursuant to section 22-9-106.
(f) To publicize and hold a public school accountability committee meeting pursuant to section 22-32-142 (2) or 22-30.5-520 (2) to discuss strategies to include in a public school priority improvement or turnaround plan;
(g) To publicize a public hearing held pursuant to section 22-32-142 (2), or, if the school is an institute charter school, to publicize and hold a public hearing pursuant to section 22-30.5-520 (2), to review a written public school priority improvement or turnaround plan. A member of the school accountability committee is encouraged to attend the public hearing.
(h) To increase the level of parent engagement in the school, especially the engagement of parents of students in the populations described in section 22-11-401 (1)(d). The committee's activities to increase parent engagement must include, but need not be limited to:
(I) Publicizing opportunities to serve and soliciting parents to serve on the school accountability committee. In soliciting parents to serve on the school accountability committee, the school accountability committee shall direct the outreach efforts to help ensure that the parents who serve on the school accountability committee reflect the student populations that are significantly represented within the school, as provided in section 22-11-401 (1)(d).
(II) Assisting the school district in implementing at the school the parent engagement policy adopted by the local school board pursuant to section 22-32-142; and
(III) Assisting school personnel to increase parents' engagement with teachers, including but not limited to parents' engagement in creating students' READ plans pursuant to part 12 of article 7 of this title, in creating individual career and academic plans pursuant to section 22-32-109 (1)(oo) or 22-30.5-525, and in creating plans to address habitual truancy pursuant to section 22-33-107 (3).
(2) Notwithstanding any provision of subsection (1) of this section to the contrary, the school accountability committee for a public school is not required to implement the requirements specified in paragraph (h) of subsection (1) of this section if the department determines that the public school's school district is rural, based on the geographic size of the school district and the distance of the school district from the nearest large, urbanized area, and the school district enrolls fewer than one thousand students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Colorado Revised Statutes 22-32-118.5. Intervention strategies - students at risk of dropping out - legislative declaration
(1) The general assembly finds that research shows there are certain behaviors such as truancy, low academic achievement, and misbehavior that results in suspension or expulsion that, when exhibited by a student, are clear indications that the student is at increased risk of dropping out of school before graduation. These behaviors are often noticeable as early as grades six through nine and, even at this relatively early stage of a student's academic career, are accurate predictors of whether the student will graduate or drop out of high school. The general assembly further finds that interventions with students who demonstrate these behaviors in these middle grades can be very successful in enabling the student to refocus his or her efforts, improve in academic achievement, and successfully graduate from high school. Therefore, it is the intent of the general assembly that school districts and public schools focus attention on the data collected for students in these middle grades, identify students who require interventions, and provide the appropriate interventions to assist students in graduating from high school.
(2) (a) Each school district board of education shall consider adopting procedures by which the schools of the school district, including charter schools, that include any of grades six through nine shall review the relevant data for students in those grades and identify students who are demonstrating behaviors that indicate the student is at greater risk of dropping out of school. The behaviors may include, but need not be limited to, low academic achievement, truancy, insubordinate behavior, and disengagement.
(b) The procedures may specify that, after a school identifies a student as being at increased risk of dropping out of school, the school shall provide appropriate interventions that are designed to assist the student in improving his or her academic performance and behavior and in increasing his or her overall level of engagement in school. Interventions may include, but need not be limited to, counseling, tutoring, parent engagement, and developmental education services.
(c) If a school district board of education adopts procedures pursuant to this subsection (2), the school district shall notify a student's parents as soon as possible after the school district identifies the student as being at greater risk of dropping out of school. The school district shall provide to the student's parents a description of the interventions that the school district intends to implement for the student, if any. The parent may approve or reject the described interventions. If the parent rejects the interventions, the school district shall not implement the interventions. The parent may terminate the interventions at any time after the school district begins providing the interventions.
(d) A parent may contact the school district in which his or her student is enrolled to request interventions pursuant to this subsection (2) if the parent determines that the student is at greater risk of dropping out of school.
Colorado Revised Statutes 22-33-104. Compulsory school attendance
... (4) (a) The board of education shall adopt a written policy setting forth the district's attendance requirements. Said policy shall provide for excused absences, including those listed as exclusions from compulsory school attendance in accordance with subsection (2) of this section. An attendance policy developed pursuant to this section may include appropriate penalties for nonattendance due to unexcused absence. ...
(b.5) Each board of education is encouraged to establish attendance procedures for identifying students who are chronically absent and to implement best practices and research-based strategies to improve the attendance of students who are chronically absent. ...
Colorado Revised Statutes 22-33-107. Enforcement of compulsory school attendance - definitions
(1) The board of education of each school district shall designate one or more of the employees of the district to act as attendance officer for the district. It is the attendance officer's duty in appropriate cases to counsel with students and parents and investigate the causes of nonattendance and report to the local board of education so as to enforce the provisions of this article which relate to compulsory attendance.
(2) The commissioner of education shall designate an employee of the department of education whose duty it is to assist the individual school districts and to supervise the enforcement of compulsory school attendance for the entire state.
(3) (a) As used in this subsection (3):
- (I) "Child who is habitually truant" means a child who has attained the age of six years on or before August 1 of the year in question and is under the age of seventeen years and who has four unexcused absences from public school in any one month or ten unexcused absences from public school during any school year. Absences due to suspension or expulsion of a child are considered excused absences for purposes of this subsection (3).
- (II) "Local community services group" means the local juvenile services planning committee created pursuant to section 19-2-211, C.R.S., the local collaborative management group created by a memorandum of understanding entered into pursuant to section 24-1.9-102, C.R.S., or another local group of public agencies that collaborate with the school district to identify and provide support services for students.
(b) The board of education of each school district shall adopt and implement policies and procedures concerning elementary and secondary school attendance, including but not limited to policies and procedures to work with children who are habitually truant. The policies and procedures must include provisions for the development of a plan. The plan must be developed with the goal of assisting the child to remain in school and, when practicable, with the full participation of the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian. Appropriate school personnel shall make all reasonable efforts to meet with the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child to review and evaluate the reasons for the child's truancy. The appropriate school personnel are encouraged to work with the local community services group to develop the plan. The policies and procedures may also include but need not be limited to the following:
(I) (Deleted by amendment, L. 96, p. 1808, § 4, effective July 1, 1996.)
(I.5) Procedures to monitor the attendance of each child enrolled in the school district to identify each child who has a significant number of unexcused absences and to work with the local community services group and the child's parent to identify and address the likely issues underlying the child's truancy, including any nonacademic issues;
(II) Annually at the beginning of the school year and upon any enrollment during the school year, obtaining from the parent of each child a telephone number or other means of contacting such parent during the school day; and
(IV) Establishing a system of monitoring individual unexcused absences of children which shall provide that, whenever a child who is enrolled in a public school fails to report to school on a regularly scheduled school day and school personnel have received no indication that the child's parent is aware of the child's absence, school personnel or volunteers under the direction of school personnel shall make a reasonable effort to notify by telephone such parent. Any person who, in good faith, gives or fails to give notice pursuant to this subparagraph (IV) shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, which might otherwise be incurred or imposed and shall have the same immunity with respect to any judicial proceeding which results from such notice or failure to give such notice.
(4) On or before September 15, 2010, and on or before September 15 each year thereafter, the board of education of each school district shall report to the department of education the number of children who are habitually truant, as defined in section 22-33-102 (3.5), for the preceding academic year. The department shall post this information for each school district on its website for the public to access and may post additional information reported by school districts related to truancy.
(5) The department of education may post on its website information concerning effective, research-based, truancy- and dropout-prevention programs for the benefit of school districts.
Colorado Revised Statutes 22-33-202. Identification of at-risk students
(1) Each school district shall adopt policies to identify students who are at risk of suspension or expulsion from school. Students identified may include those who are truant, who have been or are likely to be declared habitually truant, or who are likely to be declared habitually disruptive. The school district shall provide students who are identified as at risk of suspension or expulsion with a plan to provide the necessary support services to help them avoid expulsion. The school district shall work with the student's parent or guardian in providing the services and may provide the services through agreements with appropriate local governmental agencies, appropriate state agencies, community-based organizations, and institutions of higher education entered into pursuant to section 22-33-204. The failure of the school district to identify a student for participation in an expulsion-prevention program or the failure of such program to remediate a student's behavior shall not be grounds to prevent school personnel from proceeding with appropriate disciplinary measures or used in any way as a defense in an expulsion proceeding.
(2) Each school district may provide educational services to students who are identified as at risk of suspension or expulsion from school. Any school district that provides educational services to students who are at risk of suspension or expulsion may apply for moneys through the expelled and at-risk student services grant program established in section 22-33-205 to assist in providing such educational services.
Dropout Prevention Framework
The framework provides guidance and resources to schools and districts implementing dropout prevention efforts such as early warning systems.