Attendance Works: June 7 Webinar: How Local Communities Can Encourage Student Attendance in September

Join us at 1-2:15 p.m. Eastern, 10-11:15 a.m. Pacific:

Children who go to school every day are winners. They benefit by learning more and developing the habit of regular attendance that will help them succeed when they go to work. Yet, across the country, as many as 7.5 million school-age children were chronically absent.

via June 7 Webinar: How Local Communities Can Encourage Student Attendance in September.

Attendance Works: Reporting on Absenteeism Wins Top Prizes

The first time Chicago Tribune reporter David Jackson requested information on attendance in Chicago Public Schools was 1999. He had talked to a juvenile court judge who told him about the surprisingly high truancy rates among young offenders. Jackson filed a Freedom of Information request with the school district, but it was denied on privacy grounds, even though he asked that names be redacted. The case went to court, which upheld the district’s decision.

via Reporting on Absenteeism Wins Top Prizes.

The Educated Guess: Attorney general calls on schools to fight state’s 30 percent truancy rate

California Attorney General Kamala Harris launched a new focus on truancy as a statewide law enforcement issue with a letter that went to all of the state’s county and district superintendents last week.

“California is facing an alarming truancy problem,” Harris wrote in the letter. “Over 1.8 million students, almost 30 percent of the state’s student body, were truant in California in the 2010-11 school year.”

via Attorney general calls on schools to fight state’s 30 percent truancy rate – by Lillian Mongeau.

Attendance Works: From Dropout to Attendance Guru

Those of you who have participated in our peer learning webinars have probably had a chance to hear Debra Duardo talked about the Los Angeles Unified School District’s efforts to tackle chronic absence. Under her leadership the district has not only reduced absences but saved millions of dollars in state aid, which is partially based on daily attendance.

Duardo, who was just named LAUSD’s Executive Director of Health and Human Services,  has a clear understanding of the connection between attendance and achievement. It’s personal for her.

via From Dropout to Attendance Guru.

Attendance Works: Baltimore students tackle transportation, early grade absenteeism in citywide campaign

High school students in Baltimore, Md., are doing their part to raise awareness about the importance of attending school. As part of an attendance campaign, students from Wide Angle Youth Media say they are working to “empower youth to work together to create tangible change in the world around them” and that starts with being in school every day, on time.

via Baltimore students tackle transportation, early grade absenteeism in citywide campaign.

Attendance Works: Early Warning Signs for Black Male Youth: Chronic Absence, 3rd Grade Reading & Suspension

For Robert K. Ross, the president and CEO of The California Endowment, the plight of black boys and youth in this country is deeply personal. After months of thinking about the issue, he’s emerged with a call to create an early warning system that will tip off schools and communities when these young men start to head off track. Chronic absence is one of his indicators, as is third-grade reading. Suspensions from school, likewise, can signal that a student needs help. Dr. Ross challenges us to work together to use these indicators to develop a systemic approach that can “ dismantle a systemic beast of stigmatization, marginalization, criminalization, and incarceration that engulfs our young men.”

via Early Warning Signs for Black Male Youth: Chronic Absence, 3rd Grade Reading & Suspension.

Attendance Works: Count Us In Toolkit

If you are recognizing September as Attendance Awareness Month, use our toolkit to start planning what activities you want to pursue. You’ll find:

  • An explanation of the importance of attendance and chronic absence
  • Ideas for community partners & coalitions
  • Proclamations, press releases & media tools
  • Suggestions for incentives, contests & events
  • Advice for tracking data to identify & intervene with students

via Count Us In Toolkit.

Attendance Works: New Britain Strategies Improve Kindergarten Attendance

A focus on parent engagement and messaging has brought kindergarten absenteeism rates in New Britain, Conn., down by 30 percent in the past year, part of an overall reduction in chronic absence district-wide.

The percentage of kindergartners missing 10 percent or more of school days dropped from 30 percent in the past school year to 21 percent so far this year. “We’ve put most of our resources and work on parent engagement into the kindergarten level because getting to them early is so important,” said Joe Vaverchak, New Britain’s director of attendance. “It’s working.”

via New Britain Strategies Improve Kindergarten Attendance.

Count Us In: Launching Attendance Awareness Month

School attendance is essential to academic success, but too often students, parents and schools don’t realize how quickly absences, excused or unexcused, can add up to academic trouble. Chronic absence— missing just 18 days per school year— can leave third graders unable to master reading, sixth graders failing courses and ninth graders dropping out of high school. The impact is the greatest on low-income students who lack the resources to make up for the lost time in the classroom.

via Count Us In: Launching Attendance Awareness Month.

CA Dept of Education: Model SARBs Selected

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that 11 programs have been designated as models of attendance improvement and dropout prevention by the State School Attendance Review Board (State SARB).

Torlakson congratulated the 2012-13 Model SARBs for their work in reducing the number of students who are chronically absent, which results in costing school districts millions of dollars each year in lost income and greatly increases the likelihood a student will drop out of school. Reducing absenteeism is a major focus for Torlakson as new research points to chronic absence as a key indicator of a student’s academic future.

via Model SARBs Selected.

Attendance Works: What Parents Really Think About School Attendance

We know that most parents want the best for their children. So how can we persuade them that school attendance, starting in the early grades, is critical to their children’s later success?

The Ad Council decided to explore some common misperceptions in a set of focus groups and interviews with parents. The council and the U.S. Army have recently adopted attendance as a key issue in the BoostUp dropout prevention campaign they are sponsoring. They set up focus groups with  parents of students who missed 10 or more days of school . The interviews focused on parents with children in fourth through ninth grade, particularly those from low-income and minority families. They were conducted interviews in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

via What Parents Really Think About School Attendance.

Education Week: NAEP: Student Absenteeism Hampers Test Scores

Guest post by Sarah D. Sparks. Cross-posted from Inside School Research.

Background data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress add to the growing pile of evidence that student absenteeism can hamstring a district’s performance on the test dubbed the “Nation’s Report Card.”

Education consultant Alan Ginsburg presented the latest analysis of NAEP background data at a meeting of the National Assessment Governing Board in Tysons Corner, Va., last Thursday. The updated “NAEP Time for Learning” report is part of an ongoing project to use the massive ancillary data generated by the tests to provide more context for student performance.

via NAEP: Student Absenteeism Hampers Test Scores.

SCOE’s Facebook Wall: Attendance Works: Debunking the Myths About School Attendance

Myth 1: Attending Kindergarten Regularly Doesn’t Really Matter

Reality: Chronic absence (missing 10 percent of school days) in kindergarten is associated with lower academic performance in 1st grade, especially in reading for Latino students. For poor children, unable to make up for time on task, the poor performance extended through 5th grade. By 6th grade chronic absence is a clear predictor of drop-out. By 9th grade, missing 20 percent of the school year is a better predictor of dropping out than test scores.

Chronic absence in the early grades and beyond can affect all students when teachers must spend time reviewing concepts for children who missed the lesson in the first place. And it can cost schools money when state funding is linked to attendance. Chronic absence can serve as an early warning signal that a child or a school is headed off track. It can reflect unhealthy economic and social conditions.

via Debunking the Myths About School Attendance

Attendance Works: Tackling Chronic Absenteeism Benefits Children of Color, Low-Income Students

In a White House auditorium on Tuesday, Attendance Works Director Hedy Chang was recognized as a “Champion of Change” along with nine other advocates and educators for their work with African-American students.

Beyond the honor, the ceremony provided an opportunity to mingle with some fantastic people doing great work across the country: Kyle Bacon in Washington, D.C., Esther Bush in Pittsburgh, Haben Girma at Harvard, Michael Graham in North Carolina, Phillip Jackson in Chicago, Becky James-Hatter in St. Louis, Erin Jones in the Seattle area and Joyce Parker in Mississippi Delta. Also on the list was Johns Hopkins University researcher Bob Balfanz, another expert on chronic absence, as well as high school dropout.

via Tackling Chronic Absenteeism Benefits Children of Color, Low-Income Students.

Attendance Works: White House Names Hedy Chang “Champion of Change”

Attendance Works Director Hedy Chang will be honored by the White House on today (2/26) for her leadership in promoting educational opportunities for African-American students, one of 10 leaders who are being named Champions of Change. Since chronic absence disproportionately affects children of color, Chang’s work to improve the policy and practice around school attendance can especially benefit  educational opportunities for African-American students.

“President Obama has made providing a complete and competitive education for all Americans – from cradle to career – a top priority,” said Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett in a White House press release.  “That’s why, last summer, he signed an executive order to establish the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. This week, we look forward to welcoming Champions of Change who have been working to ensure that all African American students receive an education that fully prepares them for high school graduation, college completion, and productive careers.”

via White House Names Hedy Chang “Champion of Change”.

Attendance Works: BoostUp’s “Day of Action” Links Attendance to Dropout Prevention

We know that about 7,000 high school students drop out every school day and that, for many, this process starts with chronic absenteeism. So it makes perfect sense that BoostUp,  a dropout prevention campaign created by  the U.S. Army and the Ad Council, is adopting attendance as a key component of its efforts.

Tomorrow (2/25) at noon, BoostUp is hosting a Twitter Q&A from noon to 1 with Attendance Works Director Hedy Chang and Johns Hopkins University researcher Bob Balfanz (follow us at hashtag #AttendanceCounts). BoostUp is also releasing an Attendance Spark, a video widget that you can post on Facebook or embed on your website. The spark includes a recent PSA on attendance, along with links to other resources.

via BoostUp’s “Day of Action” Links Attendance to Dropout Prevention.

Attendance Works Upcoming Webinar: Engaging Parents to Reduce Chronic Absence

Parents are essential partners in reducing chronic absence and ensuring their children get to school every day. Yet, as research commissioned by The Ad Council shows, many parents fail to see the connection between attendance in the early grades and dropping out.

Join us on March 13 at 1 p.m. ET for our next webinar, Bringing It Home: Engaging Parents as Critical Partners in Reducing Chronic Absence. We will hear about parents’ key attitudes and behavior surrounding school absences and discuss recommendations on how to effectively communicate messages about attendance. Sheri Klein, Vice President of Research and Evaluation at The Ad Council, will present findings from their qualitative research, followed by a panel discussion highlighting different models for engaging parents in reducing chronic absence.

via Upcoming Webinar: Engaging Parents to Reduce Chronic Absence.

Attendance Works: Join Us at AASA

Given the important role that school administrators play in reducing chronic absence, the American Association of School Administrators has invited Attendance Works and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to speak at the group’s national conference in Los Angeles later this month.

Are you going?  If so, please consider joining us at 2:30 on Thursday, February 21st at our  session:  Making Every Day Count: An Overlooked Solution for Helping Students Achieve.

via Join Us at AASA.

Attendance Works: Upcoming Webinar: Data Innovations

As the issue of chronic absence has risen in prominence, school districts and communities across the nation are seeking more powerful and effective tools to identify and help students who miss too many days of school.

Join the Attendance Works Peer Learning Network on Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT as we examine two exciting new approaches to putting actionable data into the hands of practitioners. This webinar will feature:

  • Fresno Unified School District’s student tracking system that alerts educators to potential problems using a set of early warning indicators. Using new visual displays of data such as the Chronic Absence Heat Map Mosaic, Fresno Unified is creating the next generation of tools to help practitioners in this 74,000-student California school district see patterns of chronic absence at a glance and intervene effectively in raising academic achievement and reducing the dropout rate.
  • OnTrackEDU, which uses chronic absence as one of several early warning indicators to help people proactively identify and support off-track students. Currently being piloted by several districts, OnTrackEDU’s easy-to-read data dashboard shows what is happening at a district, school, and individual student level. OnTrackEDU is also an interactive platform designed to help the many practitioners working with a student communicate and collaborate as they implement and track interventions.

via Upcoming Webinar: Data Innovations.

Attendance Works: How Principals Can Turn Around Chronic Absence

Principal Cliff Hong knew that too many students missed class at his Oakland, CA, middle school, but it was not until he analyzed the data that he saw the picture clearly. Every day, 50 to 60 Roosevelt Middle School students were absent and as many as 15 percent of students were missing nearly a month of school every year. The absences were costing the school money because California bases its state aid formula on average daily attendance.

Within a year, however, Hong and his attendance team cut his absentee rate in half and saw his school’s standardized test scores climb by 30 scale points. How did he do it? A data-driven focus on attendance, engagement from the full community, and support from school district leadership were the keys to his success. His story is part of a growing national narrative of schools that are improving student achievement by reducing chronic absenteeism.

via How Principals Can Turn Around Chronic Absence.