Giving Compass' Take:

• Mark Keierleber explains that a report released by the American Institutes for Research and Attendance Works suggests that improving school conditions might be an effective way to reduce chronic absenteeism. 

• How can funders help schools better meet the needs of their students? What needs do students in your community have? 

• Learn about the benefits of community schools

An obvious educational rule of thumb is that in order for students to learn at school, they first have to show up.

But with millions of children counted “chronically absent” each year, a new report argues that educators can improve attendance by first making their schools more welcoming places to attend.

The report, released by the American Institutes for Research and Attendance Works, argues that schools can improve student attendance if children feel safe and included at school. A comprehensive strategy to improve students’ health and safety, sense of belonging, emotional well-being and academic engagement are all key to combating chronic absences, according to the report.

Those elements work together to “pull people in or push them out,” said David Osher, vice president at the American Institutes for Research and a co-author of the report.

“You want school to be a place people want to be,” he said. “For too many students, particularly too many students who face economic disadvantage and often are culturally marginalized, what they experience in school tends to not be highly engaging.”

Read the full article about chronic absenteeism by Mark Keierleber at The 74.