Faculty Expert Profile

Robert Balfanz

  • Professor at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools


  • Center for the Social Organization of Schools
  • Everyone Graduates Center
  • School of Education

Robert Balfanz has published widely on secondary school reform, high school dropouts, early warning systems, chronic absenteeism, school climate, and instructional interventions in high-poverty schools.

His analysis of New York City's campaign against absenteeism found that the city's efforts significantly improved attendance rates and reduced chronic absenteeism. His eight-year study of nearly 13,000 urban students showed that just four predictive indicators in sixth grade can pre-identify 60% of high school dropouts.

Balfanz is a research professor at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools and is the director of the Everyone Graduates Center. He also co-founded Diplomas Now, an evidence based school transformation model for high-needs middle and high schools that combined whole school reform with enhanced student supports guided by an early warning system. In addition, Balfanz was a winner of a federal Investing in Innovation (I3) validation grant which was implemented in 40 schools across 12 school districts.

He was recently quoted in a Washington Post article about absenteeism in which he said that "high school students with frequent absences are more likely to drop out, and those who manage to get to college are less likely to finish."

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