We know that students have to be present in school to access the content that is presented. Chronic absenteeism is a factor that plagues many school districts in America. In Tennessee, chronically absent is defined as, “Missing school for any reason (excused, unexcused, suspended/expelled). Commonly defined as missing 10 percent or more of instructional days, the threshold at which research indicates most students are at risk of negative academic and social consequences.” The 2020 and 2021 school years have been exceptionally challenging years to manage absence due to the ever-changing presentation models of in-person, hybrid and virtual learning.

The choice to attend class or avoid class is a behavior and can be viewed through the RTI2–B lens. Like any other behavior, interventions can be used for improvement. Chronic absenteeism could be a concern for some of your Tier II and Tier III students. If your school district is concerned about student absence consider the interventions that you have in place at Tier I, Tier II and Tier III.


Simple suggestions from the TNDOE are: 

For additional Tier I and II ideas supporting students in-person, virtually or during a hybrid model, please visit the TBSP COVID website here and choose the For Educators option. Another great resource to visit is Attendance Works. See below for their example of ideas at each tier that you can try at your school and download a blank form that you can use to brainstorm your own tiered supports here.


“Chronic Absenteeism” TN Department of Education www.tn.gov/education/student-support/chronic-absenteeism.html