Date of Award



© 2022 Leland Caron

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Deborah Jameson

Second Advisor

Dawn Mackiewicz

Third Advisor

Eric McGough


Educational success relies heavily upon consistent school attendance (Rogers & Feller, 2018). In Maine, a student is identified as chronically absent when 10% or more of the days enrolled in school are missed due to excused or unexcused absences (Maine Department of Education, 2019). Chronic absenteeism impacts millions of students across America each year. National data identified that approximately five to seven and a half million school-aged students miss a month or more of school each year (Chang & Davis, 2015). This qualitative interpretative phenological study (IPA) was designed to fill some of the gaps in the literature on chronic absenteeism where much of the existing research is quantitative in nature and conducted in urban settings. This study used an interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore the lived experiences of seven parents and guardians from a rural Northern Maine school to identify potential challenges and obstacles that impact student attendance. Using the theoretical framework, Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems. The seven key findings were identified from an analysis of the interview transcripts included: 1) the challenges of living in Northern Maine, 2) family challenges, 3) adverse childhood experiences, 4) challenges at school, 5) the obstacles created by illness, 6) the impact of COVID-19, and 7) obstacles created by attendance misconceptions. These findings revealed several consistent obstacles and challenges perceived by the parents and guardians which impacted their children’s school attendance, but each experience described was found to be unique in terms of how their children reacted to the stress created by the study’s findings.

Recommendations for future research include learning about students’ unique lived experiences through the perceptions of the students themselves as well as further research on many of the obstacles and challenges identified in this study.


Ed.D. Dissertation

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