Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Harrington Gibson

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Minor


This three-part dissertation concentrates on student attendance. It is clear that we have a student attendance problem in our nation, particularly in urban school districts. There have been other studies, discussions, and debates on how to improve student attendance, but identifying a single policy, program, incentive, and/or intervention to positively impact absenteeism is difficult. Student absenteeism has and will continue to be a national problem. Many factors play a role in student attendance, to a certain degree, some are controllable and others are extremely difficult to affect.

This Part III of the dissertation is a Policy Advocacy for absenteeism at the local level. Reflecting on my experience as a student, teacher, and administrator, student attendance is key baseline data to a successful school. After a deep dive of district attendance policies, the recommendation is that school districts’ attendance and truancy policies include supportive attendance services for prevention, intervention, and/or community resources. Additionally, that a district’s retention policy includes recommendations for retention based on a combination of academic data and student attendance data.

The overarching challenge is for school districts to be able to proactively manage student attendance to ensure children are in school on a regular basis.

Creating a culture of collaboration for student attendance, shared responsibility, and trust are key to address our national student attendance crisis.


As a marathon runner, crossing the finish line of this dissertation was by far the hardest race I have ever completed. It was a race against myself. A race without limits, time, or direction, but I was determined to find my way and complete the race. My confidence, work ethic, professional responsibilities, and family obligations were stretched beyond all limitations.

Crossing the finish line of this doctoral race was a result of the love, support, and encouragement of many people.

If it weren’t for my loving family, supportive friends, and my amazing mentors, I could not have completed this journey. Their patience and support helped me more than they’ll ever know.

First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge my beautiful children, Ximena and Octavio. During these years, I thank you for putting up with my limited availability and long work hours. I thank you for giving me the space to complete this work. Your patience and understanding during this time was greatly appreciated; know that you are loved.

To all of my family members, thank you for believing in me!

To all of my mentors, thank you for your words of wisdom, for being an active listener, and for pushing me forward!