Get More Kids to School More Often


Help Our Kids

With your support, Knox County kids can get to school more often and achieve academically.

Get more kids to school, more often.

United Way of Greater Knoxville supports better attendance for all Knox County kids.

The more kids are at school, the more opportunities they have to learn. It seems simple, right?

But the real story is more complex. Research shows that there are key attendance milestones students need to reach to be academically successful. Being present for 90 percent of the school year is linked to reading proficiency, skills development and on-time graduation.


Who is Chronically Absent?

Kids as young as kindergarten can have problems with missing school.

  • 1 in 10 kids in kindergarten and first grade are chronically absent1
  • More than eight in 10 chronically-absent kindergartners and first graders will not read at grade level by the end of the third grade2
  • Students from families in under-resourced neighborhoods are four times more likely to be chronically absent than their peers1


Why Do Kids Miss School?

When kids miss school, it is not simply that they are too lazy to go or are playing hooky. Children who are chronically absent often want to go to school but can’t because of circumstances in their life that are out of their control.

Some obstacles that stand in the way for kids to get to school are:

  • Chronic health conditions
  • Homelessness or housing instability
  • Involvement with the juvenile justice system
  • Bullying or unsafe conditions in school3


What Can We Do?

It's common to think of chronic absenteeism as a problem for schools and families. But the more kids go to school, develop strong skills and graduate the more likely our community will grow and thrive. Kids in school today are the future employees of local businesses and future neighbors on our streets. Helping these students be successful today, means they will be strong contributors to our region tomorrow.  

That’s why United Way of Greater Knoxville teams up with local educators and families to help every student have the greatest chance of going to school every day. Together we minimize the barriers that keep students out of school and build supports that keep them on track.

Some of our most successful efforts include:

  • The Walking School Bus, with the Great Schools Partnership
  • Family Promise
  • University Assisted Community Schools

When you give generously to United Way of Greater Knoxville, you help make it easier for kids to get to school  – and make our community stronger.

Please make a gift today.


1Chang, Hedy; Romero, Mariajose, Present, Engaged and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades, National Center for Children in Poverty: NY: NY, September 2008 via

2Attendance in Early Elementary Grades: Association with Student Characteristics, School Readiness and Third Grade Outcomes, Applied Survey Research. May 2011 via

3U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice, Every Student, Every Day: A Community Toolkit to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism, Washington, D.C., 2015.

Sign Up, Take Action

Sign up to receive our stories and updates, and learn more about how you can help.