Archive for the ‘Elementary’ Category

July 6th, 2017

Webinar: Supporting our Most Vulnerable Students

Often students who miss 9-7 days per semester, (or 10 percent or more of days) face serious hurdles in getting to school, such as ongoing health concerns, lack of a safe path to school or bullying. These students might also be involved in foster care or the juvenile justice system and could be experiencing factors beyond their control.

Teachers and other educators aren’t expected to address these complex needs on their own. Instead, they need to know how to join with other staff, and tap into the resources and supports offered in order to make a greater impact in improving attendance for these vulnerable students.

Join Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Works, and a cross-section of speakers for The Secret Formula 1+2+3: Improving Attendance for Our Most Vulnerable Students, on 2 pm ET on August 8* as they discuss how to lay the foundation for a positive culture of attendance for all students by providing a warm and engaging start to the school year. Speakers will also address how educators can work across agencies to ensure additional supports for our most vulnerable students, including those who are living in public housing, involved in the foster care system, or are exposed to trauma.

Presenters include:

  • Ayeola Fortune, United Way Worldwide
  • Dr. Martha Merchant, University of California, San Francisco
  • Silvia Cordero, San Francisco Unified School District
  • Janet Meeks, Delray Beach School District
  • Minsun Meeker, National Center for Youth Law’s FosterEd CA
  • and Hedy Chang, Attendance Works

This webinar will also feature the newest resources from Attendance Works including our teacher toolkit, Teaching Attendance 2.0 with new messaging materials, and the indispensable Attendance Awareness Month resource Count Us In! toolkit.

Don’t miss out on this free webinar! Register here.

* 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.

Posted in Elementary, Health, Secondary | Comments Off on Webinar: Supporting our Most Vulnerable Students

June 16th, 2017

AAC awards honor community-wide attendance, early reading success

Fifteen communities located across the country have been recognized for their efforts to boost attendance, improve grade-level reading proficiency and student success among low-income families. Honored with an All-America City Award (AAC), each community made progress by engaging families and collaborating with local educators, government, business, faith and philanthropy organizations.

The AAC Awards were presented during Grade-Level Reading Week in Denver, Colorado, a multi-day event that includes peer-learning workshops, presentations from AAC finalists, panel discussions and cultural showcases. Attendance Works helped organize several sessions, including a mini-plenary for funders on leveraging the Every Student Succeeds Act to address chronic absence, and three workshops.

The 2017 AAC Awards are sponsored by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the National Civic League (NCL), which created the program 68 years ago. The awards are designed to shine a spotlight on trail-blazing efforts to bring all aspects of the community together to tackle the most pressing local issue, according to NCL.

“We applaud the ’big tent’ coalitions in these award-winning communities. They put a stake in the ground around third-grade reading and made some ‘big bets’ to improve the odds for early school success,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “Those big bets are paying off in more hopeful futures for so many vulnerable children in these communities.”

Communities are judged on efforts to improve attendance, school readiness and summer learning and that increase the number of students reading at grade level. Each of the fifteen winning communities had measurable progress in reducing chronic absence. You can read a summary of each community’s achievements on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s website.

Some highlights include:

  • Springdale, Arkansas
    The percentage of first graders at Monitor Elementary School who were chronically absent decreased from 24 percent in 2012–13 to 10 percent in 2015–16. The percentage of third grade students who were reading at grade level increased from 35 percent in 2012–13 to 36.5 percent in 2015–16.
  • Stockton-San Joaquin County, California
    Countywide efforts to raise awareness of attendance-related issues led to a reduction of chronic absenteeism from 9 percent to 6.9 percent. Similarly, the number of low-income third graders who were reading at grade level increased from 20 percent in 2015 to 23 percent in 2016.
  • New Britain, Connecticut
    From 2013 to 2016, the percentage of low-income first-grade students who were chronically absent dropped from 25.1 percent in 2011–12 to 13.3 percent in 2015–16. New Britain also saw an increase from 35.7 percent in spring 2014 to 45.7 percent in spring 2016 in the percentage of second-grade students achieving reading proficiency.
  • Delray Beach, Florida
    Between 2011–12 and 2015–16, the percentage of low-income K–3 children who were chronically absent was reduced from 6.54 percent to 2.1 percent. In addition, Delray Beach saw an increase of 22 percent over two years in the number of low-income children reading proficiently.

In addition to the above winners, AAC awards were presented to communities in:

  • Suncoast (Manatee & Sarasota Counties), Florida
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Dubuque, Iowa
    Springfield, Massachusetts
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Montgomery County-Dayton, Ohio
    Lane County, Oregon
    San Antonio, Texas
    Roanoke, Virginia

“So many communities are doing a great job in using collaborative efforts to improve grade-level reading that it was hard to select this year’s award winners,” said Doug Linkhart, president of the National Civic League. “This year’s All-America Cities are engaging a diverse cross-section of residents, businesses, nonprofits and other stakeholders in the grade-level reading effort, which will help sustain their achievements over time.”

Posted in Elementary | Comments Off on AAC awards honor community-wide attendance, early reading success

February 9th, 2017

French Toast: An A+ Partnership in Perfect Attendance

As America’s leading school wear brand, French Toast knows businesses have a lot to gain from supporting student attendance. In the long term, students who get to school every day on time will carry the habit into the workforce and will have learned the academic skills needed to thrive and compete in the workforce. In the short term, when young children miss school, parents are more likely to miss work. Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 10.53.55 PM

French Toast also knew that investing in this issue would have a positive impact on students, schools and families. For the past two years, the uniform brand has put this knowledge to work by supporting attendance in elementary schools.

French Toast’s commitment illustrates how a business can really make a difference in student’s lives, especially when it invests in attendance over time.

In 2014 French Toast piloted its Perfect Attendance Program (see this video)  for elementary schools to provide incentive programs for attending school. The brand started small by adopting a 3rd grade class at Judy Hajek Elementary in Burleson, Texas. Students were offered free uniforms, school breakfast (including French Toast, of course!), and a college savings account for students with perfect attendance. At the end of the year, half (11 out of 22) of the students in the class had perfect attendance!

Shelly Vanover, the 3rd grade teacher at Hajek Elementary, found that the French Toast incentive program not only encouraged the children to be better students, it also allowed her to stick with her curriculum. “When the students are not here I have to pull them aside and get them caught up. But they are also missing out on what was there that day when they were not there. So, it is a lot of re-teaching and catching up,” Vanover says.

The 50 percent jump in attendance was remarkable, especially compared with the prior year, when just a few students in the school had perfect attendance at Hajek. And it was much greater than the brand had imagined.

“We were interested in seeing how the program could create a positive culture of attendance in a school, and the results were phenomenal,” says Matthew Buesing, Director of Marketing, LT Apparel Group. After success at Hajek, the uniform brand wanted to expand its support to more schools and classrooms.

French Toast reached out to Attendance Works in 2015 for help developing a more scalable program offering incentives and praising students for attendance.
This revised Perfect Attendance Program includes incentive and contest ideas to recognize perfect and improved attendance. Schools that fill out an application to participate receive posters and other signage to reinforce the importance of attending school every day. Each month French Toast sponsors a uniform drawing and rewards winners with a free uniform (two tops and one bottom).

Attendance Works also helped the brand decide what type of data to collect from the schools to track each student’s daily attendance. At the end of the academic year, French Toast provides an “A+ breakfast” to each school that successfully reported its attendance data throughout the year. The students love the breakfast, and their parent appreciate the new uniforms!

Three additional schools—one each in New York City, Grand Rapids, Michigan and Arkansas—joined the incentive program in 2015-16.

Buesing admits that supporting schools with an attendance incentive program can have some challenges. Strong teacher support is the missing puzzle piece. “If the teachers are involved the kids want to be involved,” Buesing says. French Toast’s attendance program has evolved so the approach shouldn’t be seen as a burden by teachers.

The brand remains committed to supporting strong attendance in schools. “When we approached Attendance Works in 2015, we asked for their assistance in shaping the program. Thanks to their help, French Toast will work with 10 schools in the 2016-17 school year with the hope of adding 5-10 schools each school year,” Buesing says.

“We could have never imagined that the partnership would flourish into the program we have today. Together, we hope this program builds a foundation for each student’s future by teaching them how being present in school will lead to success in their future as well,” Buesing adds.

Find out more about French Toast on its website:

Posted in Announcements, Elementary, Featured Article | Comments Off on French Toast: An A+ Partnership in Perfect Attendance

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