HMH Support is here to help you get back to school right. Get started


Attendance Matters: Tackling Chronic Absenteeism Together

60 Minutes

About the Webinar

Chronic absenteeism in schools poses a significant challenge to student success and academic outcomes. As a leader, establishing a system that addresses this issue ensures a supportive learning environment and creates the conditions so that all students can thrive. Join our expert panel, including current and former school and district leaders, for an insightful session where we delve into learned experiences about addressing chronic absenteeism and the type of leadership it requires.

In this edLeader Panel, we explore:

  • Root causes: Understanding factors behind absenteeism
  • Adaptive leadership practices: Going beyond technical solutions to adaptive challenges
  • Building partnerships: Engaging stakeholders in collaborative efforts to support attendance and cultivate a positive school culture

Don’t miss this opportunity to join the conversation and gain valuable insights and practical strategies for a systematic approach to proactively addressing chronic absenteeism in your district and/or school. Join our expert panel to support your strategic plan to increase attendance rates for the next school year.

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to K-12 teachers and school and district leaders.

About the Presenters

Dr. Joshua P. Starr believes all students should have the ability to learn at high levels in safe, supportive, and equitable schools. As Managing Partner of The Center for Model Schools, he wants it to continue to be a source of strength and learning for teachers and school and system leaders as they advance equity and excellence agendas in their schools and districts. Before joining The Center, Dr. Starr served as CEO of PDK International, one of the oldest professional membership organizations for educators, helping members deepen their expertise, advance their careers, and experience better results in education research, classrooms, and schools. During his time there, he led the expansion and implementation of Educators Rising, a national program that inspires high school students to become educators.

Prior to joining PDK, Dr. Starr was Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland for four years, and previously Superintendent of Stamford, Connecticut schools for six years. As a superintendent, Dr. Starr led systemwide transformation efforts grounded in equity, excellence, and engagement. Dr. Starr began his career teaching special education in Brooklyn, New York. He became a central-office leader in school districts in the New York metropolitan area, including the New York City Department of Education. He has a bachelor’s degree in English and history from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in special education from Brooklyn College, and a doctorate in education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Dr. Starr and his wife have three children who attended public schools.

Dr. Jessica Huizenga is the Interim Executive Director of Massachusetts at Latinos for Education. She spent 24 years of her career in public education, serving in various roles as a classroom teacher, department chair, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and state receiver appointed by the Commissioner of Education, and as a superintendent of school districts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Throughout her career, she focused on ensuring high-quality and equitable instruction for students, and the school districts she led saw improvements in student performance and success.

She consults and is a keynote speaker for school systems around the country in strategic planning, leadership team development, curriculum, instruction, assessment, using data to drive improvement, diversity, equity, inclusion, innovation, and turnaround schools. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Gordon College. Dr. Huizenga taught courses covering school law, curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and prepared future educators and leaders for service in public education. Dr. Huizenga holds a Master of Arts in educational administration, and her doctorate in leadership in schooling from the University of Massachusetts – Lowell, and an advanced certificate in diversity, equity, and inclusion from Cornell University.

Elliot Ransom is Co-CEO of UChicago Impact. In this role, he manages and oversees all aspects of the organization while specializing in supporting school improvement through the use of the 5Essentials. Previously, Elliot worked as a sixth-grade teacher in Chicago. He’s also worked at the central office at Chicago Public Schools and as a leadership coach for school leadership teams. He has a BA in sociology and economics with a concentration in sociology of education and an MBA in leadership and change management.

Dr. Joe Gothard has spent 30 years in education working as a paraeducator, teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. He has been Superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) since July 1, 2017. He is the educational leader of the school district, which serves approximately 33,000 PreK-12 students and employs over 6,000 staff. SPPS is the second-largest and most diverse school district in Minnesota, with students who speak more than 115 languages and 70% who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Dr. Gothard believes in the power of public education to foster relationships, build community, and inspire students to achieve beyond their highest expectations. In 2024 he was named Minnesota Superintendent of the Year and AASA National Superintendent of the Year. He will begin his tenure as Superintendent of Madison Metropolitan School District, his home school district, this spring.

Check out this amazing free resource provided by the panel experts:

5 Things to Look for in a Consulting Partner

5 Things to Look for in a Consulting Partner