The level of school absenteeism in Baltimore City is epidemic, with nearly a quarter of Baltimore City Public School Students chronically absent, missing more than 20 days of school in a given year according to SY2013-2014 City Schools’ data. This means that students from Pre-K to grade 12 are missing a month or more of school. Even a student with a 90% attendance rate can still be chronically absent, missing out on the opportunity to gain the skills they need to succeed in school and in life. We know that students miss school for a variety of reasons including health issues, lack of transportation, unstable housing, bullying, or a lack of engagement in school. Many students are absent simply because they do not think anyone cares whether or not they attend school every day. The members and partner organizations of the Baltimore Attendance Collaborative are working to identify those reasons, mitigate their impact, and improve student attendance across our city.
The Baltimore Attendance Collaborative was established in 2010 through generous support from the Open Society Institute – Baltimore to raise awareness about the importance of using chronic absence as a key indicator for school success. Since its inception, the Collaborative has moved key influencers within the city from an understanding of chronic absenteeism to committed action to improve school attendance.
Over the past five years the Baltimore Attendance Collaborative has grown from eight original partners to over twenty-five organizations all working collectively to address the barriers prohibiting students from attending school every day.
Vision and Mission:
Our collective vision is that all children, youth and families in Baltimore City have the resources to access early education, school and expanded learning opportunities and attend every day. We hope to achieve this through a collaborative approach by aligning attendance messaging and strategies across the city, incubating innovative strategies to address chronic absence and advocating for effective policies and practices that support the conditions necessary for daily attendance.
We believe that achieving our mission means:
- Chronic absence rates are 5% or less
- Average Daily Attendance is at 98%
- All students feel connected to an adult in the school building