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Chronic Absenteeism

Thomaston Implements District Attendance Review Board (DARB)

Thomaston is an example of a small district taking big action when it comes to student attendance and fighting chronic absenteeism. Four years ago, Thomaston implemented a District Attendance Review Board (DARB) as part of a tiered attendance protocol to address chronic absenteeism. The DARB began in the high school and has since been expanded district-wide. The DARB – which consists of at least one administrator, social worker/guidance counselor from each building, nurse and representatives from community agencies such as DCF, CT Junior Republic, Juvenile Probation, and IICAPS – provides an opportunity for collaboration that has led to an overall decrease in chronic absenteeism through improved family engagement and communication with parents/guardians.  

Simulation of Thomaston's District Attendance Review Board

The distinguishing characteristics of Thomaston Public Schools’ DARB include: 

  1. Approach: Family centered interventions aiming at providing students and families with what they need to attend school on a daily basis.
  2. Authentic parent engagement: Schools have found success with phone calls, parent meetings at the building level, increased communication with support staff, and connecting them with community resources.
  3. Data-driven decisions: We look at our chronically absent data, truancy data, and daily attendance data to make informed decision regarding attendance interventions. 

Although pleased with the chronic absence reduction achieved in the overall student population, continued efforts will be made to address chronic absence among specific populations of students.

Summary

Topic: School Attendance 

Strategy: District Attendance Review Board

District: Thomaston Public Schools 

District Snapshot: 853 Students; 4 Schools/Programs; 31% eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch; 8.5% chronic absence rate (2017-18) and 5.2% (2018-19)

Contact Information: Mrs. Francine Coss, Superintendent; 860-283-3053, ext. 2; fcoss@thomastonschools.org.

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