Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

June 14th, 2017

Celebrating the Catalytic Role of Philanthropy

On June 13th and 14th, Attendance Works participated in the 2017 Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Funder Huddle in Denver. The Huddle brought together over 200+ executives and program officers from family and community foundations, United Ways and corporate giving programs, and provided an invaluable opportunity for funders to exchange ideas about how to address chronic absence as part of a comprehensive strategy for ensuring young children ready by the third grade. As the mini-plenary closing speaker on June 14th, Hedy Chang, Attendance Works’ Executive Director, shared how this is a watershed moment during which states and communities have the opportunity to leverage the changes in federal law to address chronic absence.

The mini-plenary, Chronic Absence as a Policy-Worthy Lever for Change, offered an especially robust forum for sharing ideas. The speakers focused on the many states working to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) are adopting chronic absence as an indicator of school quality or student success. The ESSA requires states to measure school quality and improves on the No Child Left Behind Act by allowing states and districts to round out their accountability rubrics with measures beyond test scores. In addition to meeting ESSA accountability requirements, the inclusion of chronic absence in state accountability rubrics also provides real opportunities for states, districts and philanthropists to achieve the goals of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, to increase the number of children from low-income families reading proficiently at the end of third grade. As this chart shows, 14 out of the 17 officially submitted ESSA plans includes chronic absence.

A key theme was the value of using data to show the impact of chronic absence on student achievement. Speakers also showed how data can help schools and communities to notice and take action when students are missing so much school they are academically at risk.

This timely discussion featured Candice McQueen, Education Commissioner for Tennessee, Carey Wright, State Superintendent for Mississippi Department of Education, Candice McQueen, Education Commissioner for Tennessee, Charlene Russell-Tucker, Chief Operating Officer for the Connecticut State Department of Education and Tom Boasberg, Superintendent of Denver Public Schools.

Equally important, the forum created an opportunity for Attendance Works to showcase the role that philanthropy can play in reducing chronic absence by honoring Jim Williamson, President of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain. Jim’s commitment and passion for children has had a catalytic influence and played a critical role in launching and sustaining the New Britain, Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

In particular, Jim’s leadership led New Britain educators to use data to realize they had a problem with chronic absence, and encouraged them bring together key stakeholders to identify and implement solutions. The resulting practices and dramatic reductions in chronic absence in New Britain have had ripple effects across Connecticut and ultimately the nation. “Connecticut is the first state in the nation to show consistent reductions in chronic absence for three years in a row,” Hedy said. “Jim Williamson serves as an inspiring example of how philanthropy, especially a local community foundation can have an enduring impact on improving outcomes for children.”

As the mini-plenary closing speaker, Hedy shared how today is in a watershed moment during which states and communities have the opportunity to leverage the changes accompanying the shift from No Child Left Behind to ESSA. In particular, the changes in the education law can support using chronic absence as a diagnostic tool for identifying and addressing barriers to learning and helping to target the use of community resources. “The key is ensuring policy makers and schools take a supportive rather than punitive framework,” Hedy told participants.

Hedy offered a number of recommendations to funders including:

  • Find out if chronic absence is in your state’s ESSA plan or state reports
  • Promote use of chronic absence as a diagnostic tool for identifying and addressing barriers to learning, especially for vulnerable students
  • Convene stakeholders to review data and develop solutions
  • Identify key grantees who can advance the issue in your community and state
  • Build public awareness, understanding and a sense of urgency for reducing chronic absence
  • Encourage local superintendents to sign up for the Attendance Awareness Month Call to Action and play a leadership role

Especially prepared for the GLR Campaign, this brief Leveraging ESSA’s New Accountability Requirements for Chronic Absence: Investment Recommendations for Philanthropy offers additional insights and ideas.

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April 17th, 2017

It Takes Two: May 23 Webinar!

When a student misses 10 percent of school days, how can schools and communities make sure that there is personalized early outreach to students and families? What does it look like when students are supported with an effective action plan that addresses the reasons for their absences?webinarmemesmayv2-01 copy

It Takes Two: Adding Early Intervention Strategies to Address Chronic Absence is the second in the AAC2017 webinar series. During this free webinar, on Tuesday, May 23 (11:00 am – 12:30 pm PT / 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm ET), you’ll hear what teachers, mentors, school nurses and other caring adults can do to identify and help students improve attendance as soon as they show signs of falling off track.

Join in with questions for our Speakers:

  •         Lysette Lemay, Parent Teacher Home Visits (PTHV)
  •         Donna Mazyck, National Association of School Nurses (NASN)
  •         Terri Helm-Remund, Seattle Public Schools
  •       Linda Amica-Roberts, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and
  •      Cecelia Leong, Attendance Works

The webinar will provide a range of answers to the question: What else can or should we do for the students for whom universal supports aren’t enough to help them attend school regularly? Each community and program featured on the webinar will have strong Tier 1 strategies in place, such as recognizing and rewarding attendance improvements, creating a welcoming school environment and monitoring chronic absence data to identify common barriers.

This September, as we celebrate Attendance Awareness Month, we have the opportunity help all students build the essential skill of showing up on time every day. Don’t miss out! Register now

Special Note: We are likely to exceed the webinar room capacity of 500! Please note that once you register you will receive the webinar recording, PowerPoint slides and other materials whether you attend or not. You might consider organizing a separate session to watch with a group using the recording and discussion guide. Guests are welcome to log in 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the webinar on May 23.

Each webinar in this year’s series builds on the previous one. If you missed the first webinar, Reducing Chronic Absence: It’s a Matter of 1, 2, 3!, click here and scroll down for the archived recording and materials.

Save the dates for the remaining Attendance Awareness Month webinars for 2017: August 8 and September 12.

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March 27th, 2017

March 28 Webinar Launches 5th Attendance Awareness Campaign Planning!

Will you attend? 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 as we launch the fifth year of the Attendance Awareness Campaign, which designates September as Attendance Awareness Month.

Join us on March 28, 2017 at 10:00 am (Pacific) / 1:00 pm (Eastern) for a free webinar, Reducing Chronic Absence: It’s a Matter of 1, 2, 3! to officially launch the campaign and learn how to get involved! Hear how communities like Manatee and Sarasota, FL, and Allegheny County, PA took positive action on attendance and galvanized a broad coalition of civic leaders, educators, parents and youth. Register here.

Special Note: We have had a record number of people registered already and are likely to exceed the webinar room capacity of 500! Please note that once you register you will receive the webinar recording, PowerPoint slides and other materials whether you attend or not. You might consider organizing a separate session to watch with a group using the recording and discussion guide. Guests are welcome to log in 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the webinar on March 28.

During the webinar we will also unveil the latest version of the “Count Us In!” toolkit, the essential resource to help you plan your Attendance Awareness Campaign involvement and enlist others to collaborate with you. The 2017 version contains new messaging and resources for making a difference in your community for Attendance Awareness Month.

The start of each school year presents an important opportunity to lift up an increasingly urgent issue: too many children missing too many days of school. Literally tens of thousands of children, even those in the early grades, are chronically absent — missing nearly a month or more of school every year.

Children who are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade are much less likely to read proficiently by the end of third grade and are more likely to have poor attendance in later grades. By middle and high school, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign that a student will not graduate on time. This is especially true for those students living in poverty who need school the most and are sometimes attending the least. Chronic absence is a problem we can solve when schools, families and community partners work together.

Here’s how you can join the Attendance Awareness Campaign 2017!

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