Montgomery County Public Schools Unveils Comprehensive Attendance Action Plan to Combat Chronic Absenteeism

August 22, 2023

Vital Work to Shift the Culture of Attendance Will Emphasize the Importance of Being In School Every Day

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) announces the launch of its innovative Attendance Action Plan, "ALL TOGETHER Now: In School Together, Learning Together, Achieving Together." This multifaceted initiative is designed to address the pressing issue of chronic absenteeism and promote consistent attendance among students across the district. By implementing data-driven strategies and fostering collaboration among stakeholders, MCPS aims to reduce barriers to school attendance and empower students and families.

The Attendance Action Plan is built on a Theory of Action, which states that through a collaborative and data-driven approach, MCPS can effectively tackle chronic absenteeism and create an inclusive learning environment for all students. Recognizing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student attendance, MCPS is also addressing culture and climate issues identified in the MCPS Antiracist System Audit, further emphasizing its commitment to equity and inclusion.

Key highlights of the Attendance Action Plan include:

  • Data-Driven Foundation: MCPS will conduct a comprehensive analysis of school-based absenteeism data, examining student groups, days of the week, departments, courses, teachers, and periods. This analysis will help identify root causes and develop targeted interventions to improve attendance.

  • School-Based Data-Driven Planning and Monitoring: Each school will develop a customized attendance plan with specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound, inclusive, and equitable goals. Regular attendance data review meetings will be held, where subgroup attendance will be analyzed, and individual students will be identified for additional support.

  • Central Service Structures, Supports, and Initiatives: MCPS will launch a system-wide attendance promotion campaign to raise awareness about the importance of regular school attendance. Additionally, designated members from various roles, including administrators, counselors, social workers, pupil personnel workers, parent community coordinators, school nurses, and attendance secretaries, will collaborate to support students and families in improving attendance.

Superintendent Dr. Monifa B. McKnight expressed enthusiasm about the Attendance Action Plan, stating, "We believe that every student deserves equal opportunities to succeed academically, and regular school attendance is an important factor in achieving that. By implementing our multifaceted approach, we aim to create a culture of attendance and engagement that supports the well-being and academic growth of all our students."

MCPS acknowledges the significant role of's Attendance Playbook in informing the development of its Attendance Action Plan. The playbook provides valuable insights and best practices to support MCPS's ongoing efforts to improve attendance rates.

To read the full MCPS Attendance Action Plan, please visit this link.

Key Data Driving the Work

Chronic Absenteeism is defined as 18 or more days absent in a school year without permission (10%)

Chronic Absenteeism Data for the 2018-2019 and 2022-2023 School Years

  • 2018-2019 School Year - 30,349 students chronically absent (19.55%) 
  • 2022-2023 School Year – 42,863 students chronically absent (27%)

Chronic Absenteeism by Level

  2018-2029 Percentage Chronically Absent in Total Population of Subgroup 2022-2023 Percentage Chronically Absent in Total Population of Subgroup
High School 29.48% 35.79%
Middle School 14.51% 22.18%
Elementary School (Excluding Pre-k) 12.00% 19.99%
(Pre-K) 31.78% 45.63%

About Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS):
Montgomery County Public Schools is the largest school system in the state of Maryland, serving over 162,000 students across 211 schools. MCPS is committed to providing high-quality education and ensuring all students have the support they need to achieve academic success.



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