The recent shift in federal education policy prompted by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has helped raise the stakes for schools around student absences. Under ESSA, at least 37 states are now looking at school-level chronic absence rates as their non-academic indicator in their ESSA plans. The implications of this are important. Previous policies assumed that parents were primarily responsible for attendance and answerable to absences. Now in many states, state policy indicates that absenteeism is an issue that schools have to address.
What, then, are schools to do in order to move the needle on student attendance? As researchers work toward understanding the impact of different interventions and practices, on-the-ground experiences in schools highlight the pervasive use of incentives from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. Schools have employed a wide range of incentives to improve attendance, with varied levels of success, according to senior researchers Rekha Balu at MDRC and Stacy Ehrlich at NORC at the University of Chicago.
In their article published February 2018 in JASPER, Making Sense out of Incentives: A Framework for Considering the Design, Use, and Implementation of Incentives to Improve Attendance, Balu and Ehrlich provide a framework to help school staff think about how—and when—to use incentives to improve student attendance. A number of other earlier research studies show the negative impact chronic absence has on student academic achievement.
Source: What Makes an Attendance Incentive Program Successful? – Attendance Works
By Kevin Kelly
Chronic absenteeism, usually defined as missing 10 percent or more of the days in a school year, is a widespread challenge that can lead to long-term problems. Data from the Office of Civil Rights suggest that 51 percent of Pennsylvania schools have 10 percent or more of their students chronically absent. Students who are chronically absent miss out on learning and are more prone to dropping out than their peers who attend school regularly.
The School Support and Improvement Research Alliance at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory (REL MA) recently held a workshop, developed in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), to provide information to educators about chronic absenteeism: what it is, how to measure it, and what research says about addressing it. The workshop met an important informational need in Pennsylvania, as the state will use chronic absenteeism as a measure of school quality and student success as a part of its approved Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan.
Source: At School, on Time, and Every Day: What Research Tells Us About Reducing Chronic Absenteeism
We are excited to join with our national partners to launch Attendance Awareness Campaign 2018! America’s Promise Alliance, Attendance Works, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Everyone Graduates Center, Get Schooled, Healthy Schools Campaign, the Institute for Educational Leadership, Mentor, Points of Light and United Way Worldwide invite you to join us for the sixth year of the Attendance Awareness Campaign, which designates September as Attendance Awareness Month.
This year we encourage everyone to remember that community-wide engagement matters for attendance. Under this year’s theme, Team Up for Attendance! we are emphasizing the role everyone, from educators to health professionals, to local agency and business partners can play in creating a welcoming and engaging school environment that motivates students and families to come to school every day.
Our four-part webinar series will focus on key partners and the important role they can play in addressing chronic absence. During our first webinar on March 28, Team Up for Attendance: Leadership Matters, we officially launch the campaign and pass along how to get involved!
Source: March 28 Webinar Launches Attendance Awareness Campaign 2018! – Attendance Works
By Nico Savidge
As the school day ends at Peyton Elementary School in Stockton, Christina Del Prato calls a mother whose daughter was absent 62 times last year. The girl has missed 21 days through the first half of this year, including the past two days.
Del Prato, an attendance case manager, is a key player in an effort being waged across the state to focus not just on students with unexcused absences but on those who are chronically absent, meaning they have missed at least 10 percent of school days for any reason.
California collected and released data on chronic absenteeism from schools for the first time last year as part of its new accountability system. A school’s chronic absenteeism rate could be included as soon as this fall on the districts’ dashboard, which shows how students are doing on multiple measures.
Source: California’s largest districts address chronic absenteeism with focus on why students miss school | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
A discussion of 2018-19 budget priorities will be among the more significant items of an otherwise relatively light agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
Michelle Henson, assistant superintendent of business services, will lead the discussion, which will be based on Gov. Jerry Brown’s $190 billion 2018-19 state budget proposal, released in January and due for revision in May.
Her presentation, casting an eye on the impact of the state’s numbers on the district’s, will come two weeks after she led a budget presentation at the trustees’ Jan. 25 meeting.
Specifically, Henson will note that projected average daily attendance (ADA) funding for the coming year will be about $9,450 for each of the district’s estimated 20,550 students, yielding some $194 million in state funding under Brown’s landmark Local Control Funding Formula. Additionally, she will tell the seven-member governing board, one-time discretionary funds from the current year will account for some $6 million in additional funds spent on students.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District to discuss 2018-19 budget priorities
Attendance Works is pleased to announce the release of its chronic absence reports for early childhood programs in partnership with ChildPlus and with COPA, two leading data management systems for Head Start and other early childhood programs.
Both online systems translate attendance data into charts that provide a clear picture of the level of chronic absence. This data will help Head Start agencies set strategies and target resources to address attendance challenges. Each chart links back to individual children. The online services make otherwise hard-to find information readily available, so professionals can spend time addressing rather than defining their attendance challenges.
Source: New preschool chronic absence reports from Child Plus and COPA – Attendance Works Attendance Works
By Richard Bammer
The executive director’s monthly report, the student performance index, the Kairos Innovative Scholars Program, and the likely approval of a capitalization policy are on the agenda tonight when the Kairos board of directors meet in Vacaville.
As part of his student performance report, Executive Director Jared Austin will offer data about the Elm Street campus’ demographics, language proficiency, special education, state and federal accountability measures, attendance, community service, school climate and student conduct.
Leslie Shelby, KISP coordinator, will present the yearly update on the independent and homeschool study program, which has about 50 out of 550 students enrolled.
Chief business officer, Anita Schwab will present the resolution for the capitalization policy, necessary to set a reasonable threshold for all types of school assets and to include the depreciation method used to make calculations about the useful life of those assets.
Source: Student performance, KISP on Kairos agenda tonight
A new survey by researchers shows that secondary students don’t really know how many days they miss from school each year, or how their absence rate compares with their peers. When asked why they missed school, the students in grades 6-12 named health, transportation and personal stress-related issues as the top three reasons they don’t come to class.
The survey, Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism Among Secondary Students, by Amber Humm Brundage and Jose Castillo at the University of South Florida, points out that students, their families, educators and communities don’t fully understand how many absences can put a student at risk academically. In the fall of 2016, the team surveyed 5,790 chronically absent secondary students—missed 10 percent or more of days during 2015-16 school year—from eight states and 91 schools.
“It is nearly impossible for critical stakeholders (parents, students, school, community, state) to fix a problem if they do not know it exists!” said Brundage. “Our survey shows that engaging in clear and consistent messaging for the purposes of building awareness of typical and acceptable levels of absences, as well as current numbers of absences, is still very much needed in schools across the country,” she added.
Source: Why are Secondary Students Missing so Much School? – Attendance Works Attendance Works
By Richard Bammer
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who declared September as Attendance Awareness Month in an effort, in part, to stem chronic absenteeism, wants school district leaders, staff and teachers to remind families about the importance of being in class each day.
Vacaville Unified trustees, who this morning will convene a special governing board workshop, are expected to hear the message that, in one way or another, links chronic absenteeism to high dropout rates, poor literacy skills and behavior problems, among other things, and key preventive measures that parents should begin taking as early as kindergarten.
In an annual district report, Kimberly Forrest, assistant superintendent for student services, and Ramiro Barron, interim director of student attendance and welfare, will lead the discussion and offer a data-filled slide presentation, of outcomes and procedures related to student attendance, suspensions and expulsions — and offer solutions — during the gathering in the Educational Services Center.
Source: VUSD leaders convene attendance workshop today
The Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) is proud to partner with your local school district in coordinating a comprehensive effort to boost student attendance by addressing chronic absences. Chronic absences occur when a student misses 10 percent or more total school days, about 18 days per year, for any reason including excused absences.
Why is chronic absence so important?
Research proves that students who are chronically absent in Kindergarten and 1st grade are far less likely to read proficiently by 3rd grade.
For every day of school missed, it takes three days to make up what was taught.
By the 6th grade, if a student continues to be chronically absent, it is a leading indicator of whether he or she will drop out of high school.
Source: SCOE and KUIC Ultimate Coffee Break for Attendance Awareness
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, in recognition of September as Attendance Awareness Month, is encouraging school districts and staff to remind families about the importance of daily attendance and help them overcome challenges that can lead to chronic absenteeism.
“Interventions to reduce chronic absenteeism should be supportive and not punitive,” said Torlakson. “There are many students who miss school days due to issues beyond their control at the start of the school year like an illness or transportation problems. It is important to identify and link students and families to appropriate school and community resources when students miss the first days of school.”
As part of California’s efforts to reduce chronic absenteeism, recently enacted legislation expanded the role of attendance supervisors to include tracking student attendance, promoting a culture of attendance, and developing interventions to reduce chronic absenteeism.
For the first time, the California Department of Education (CDE) is collecting chronic absenteeism rates in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). This data is critical in helping school administrators and attendance supervisors identify where chronic absenteeism is concentrated in each school district.
Source: September is Attendance Awareness Month – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified leaders late last week were nowhere near a school cafeteria but they heard plenty of information from representatives of an advocacy educational resources firm that provided food for thought as the district’s new academic year begins Thursday.
Two employees from the Sacramento-based School Services of California Inc., which offers business, financial, management and support for the state’s 1,000 school districts, laid out the numbers during Thursdays’s governing board meeting, an comparative analysis of district income and expenses side-by-side with a dozen primarily other Bay Area districts for the 2015-16 year (the most recent for which their specific data was available).
School district officials had requested the analysis, Sheila Vickers, a company vice president, told trustees. The analysis and comparisons cast an eye on districts with similar average daily attendance and percentages of “unduplicated” students, that is, English learners, low-income and foster youth.
Source: Vacaville school district ranked in detailed income-expense comparative analysis
The recently submitted state plans for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) show that chronic absence is gaining traction as an indicator of school quality and student success. As this chart shows, the majority—14 out of the 17 officially submitted ESSA plans—includes some variant of chronic absence as an accountability indicator and many other states with plans in preparation seem likely to follow suit.
Attendance Works is excited by the opportunity that the increased focus on chronic absence provides because it has the potential to increase student achievement substantially. We now know that excessive student absences are a proven, widespread, and consequential problem in American schools. National data from the Office for Civil Rights shows that at least 6.8 million public school students missed 15 or more days of school in 2013-14, and it affects at least 89 percent of the nation’s school districts. Several high quality research studies show that the impact of chronic absence leads to lower achievement, disengagement and often dropout. Yet chronic absence can be reversed and, when attendance improves, student achievement is likely to improve.
Source: Making the Most of Attendance Indicators – Attendance Works Attendance Works
The State School Attendance Review Board (SARB), an advisory panel to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI), has developed a sample policy on attendance supervision that is consistent with state laws that became effective on January 1, 2017.
With the passage of Assembly Bill 2815 in 2016, the role of attendance supervisors has been expanded to include more effective practices to address chronic absenteeism and truancy. These changes are designed to help promote a culture of attendance and improve local systems to track student attendance by grade level and subgroup.
The new laws directly relate to the priorities districts must address in their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP). Addressing chronic absence is included as a State Priority in the Pupil Engagement section of the LCAP template.
Source: Sample Policy & Administrative Regulation – School Attendance Review Boards (CA Dept of Education)
Educators in states across the country are seeing that current immigration policy changes are leading to increased chronic absence. As a way to reassure parents and students that school is a safe place for learning, states, districts and schools have posted resources as a way to encourage immigrant students to continue getting to school every day. We’ve complied a few for you.
Resources range from letters sent to school communities and families reaffirming anti-discrimination polices, to toolkits with tips for dealing with anxious students, to videos for parents on how to communicate with their young children on topics that are particularly difficult to tackle, such as bullying. Watch this video, in Spanish with English subtitles, from Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors.
Many districts offer fact sheets with answers to questions such as, ‘What impact does undocumented immigration status have on my child’s education?’ and ‘If I am a parent or guardian and I am worried about being detained while my child is at school, what should I do?’
Source: Educators respond to immigration policies – Attendance Works Attendance Works
By Daily Republic Staff
The Fairfield-Suisun School District is one of 27 school attendance programs recognized as model School Attendance Review Boards by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
“Students need to be in school to learn,” Torlakson said in a press release announcing the honors. “The terrific work of the review boards is a testament to the collaboration between the school, parents and community so that all students have the opportunity to succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college.”
The number of districts that applied to the Model SARB Recognition Program tripled since 2016, said a press release from Torlakson’s office. The state SARB, a panel appointed by Torlakson, reviewed the applications.
Source: State recognizes Fairfield-Suisun School District’s attendance program
By Richard Bammer
The newly released state public school and district accountability system, which uses multiple measures of school progress and performance, gets a mixed reaction from Vacaville Unified’s chief academic officer.
“Overall, I like the concept and the idea of looking at multiple sources of data; I think that’s really good,” Mark Frazier said of the California School Dashboard, launched last month by the state Department of Education.
“But one of the things that is disappointing is, that some of the data they’re using (suspension rate, English learner progress and graduation rate) is not as up-to-date as it could be,” he added. “That data is so old it’s hard to interpret.”
Source: Vacaville Unified official: New school accountability system gets mixed marks
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that 27 school attendance programs were recognized as Model School Attendance Review Boards (SARBs) for innovative and effective practices to reduce suspensions, expulsions, and chronic absenteeism.
“Students need to be in school to learn. The terrific work of the review boards is a testament to the collaboration between the school, parents, and community so that all students have the opportunity to succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said.
The number of districts that applied to the Model SARB Recognition Program tripled since 2016. The State SARB, an expert panel appointed by Torlakson, reviewed the applications.
Source: 2017 Model School Attendance Program Winners – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Like all educators, Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders take chronic absenteeism seriously, but their engaged, coordinated efforts to deal with students who are absent more than three weeks during a school year have been recognized by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
In a press release issued Thursday, he cited the district as one of 27 statewide with Model School Attendance Review Boards (SARBs), taking into account “innovative and effective practices to reduce suspensions, expulsions, and chronic absenteeism.”
“Students need to be in school to learn,” Torlakson said in the prepared statement. “The terrific work of the review boards is a testament to the collaboration between the school, parents, and community so that all students have the opportunity to succeed on their way to 21st-century careers and college.”
Source: FSUSD recognized for its Model School Attendance program
By Ryan McCarthy
The Public Safety Academy that opened in 2012 has a higher attendance rate than other schools in the Fairfield-Suisun School District, few suspensions and “is doing very well,” says a self study for its accreditation.
School district trustees take up the self study at their meeting Thursday.
Former Fairfield Police Chief Walt Tibbet, former Suisun City Police Chief Ed Dadisho and retired school district Superintendent Jacki Cottingim-Dias originally conceived the public safety academy program, the report states.
The academy’s 97.3 percent attendance rate from August to December 2016 is higher than rates for elementary, middle and high schools in the district, according to the report.
Source: Report: High attendance rate, few suspensions at Public Safety Academy