Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

June 17th, 2015

Attendance, Health to be Featured in 2016 All-America City Awards

The National Civic League is seeking applications for its 2016 All-America City Awards from communities that are using community-wide health and education strategies that enable all children to succeed in school and in life. School attendance and healthy school projects are particularly welcome and in alignment with collaborating partners, Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign.  NCL also welcome other projects that benefit all children, particularly at-risk children, using education and/or healthy community strategies.  For more information, email or call 303-571-4343.

NCL announced the 2016 focus at a weekend conference at which 10 cities received the 2015 award. Annually, 10 communities are recognized as All-America Cities for their collaboration, community engagement, inclusiveness and innovation.  About 500 have obtained this recognition over the past 66 years, some have won the award five or six times.

“The All-America City award is not a beauty contest.  It is given to communities that work together to address complex local issues,” said NCL’s President Gloria Rubio-Cortes.  “Many communities that win this award see economic and civic benefits, however it is best said that participants fall in love with their communities, again, and commit to a greater vision and increased engagement.”

Here’s a timetable for the award process:

  • September 2015-February 2016: Monthly conference calls on spotlight and AAC process
  • November 4, 2015: Submit Letter of Intent to Apply (Letter of Intent is not required, however, save $100 on your application fee when you submit a Letter of Intent to Apply by November 4, 2015!)
  • March 9, 2016: Submit Application
  • April 2016: Finalists Announced. Finalist community delegations will be invited to Denver to present.
  • June 2016: Peer-Learning Workshops & Awards Presentation/Competition in Denver, Colorado

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June 12th, 2015

Summer Learning, Good Attendance & Successful Parents

We have long recognized that efforts to improve school attendance and extend learning into the summer are driven by the same imperative: Children from low-income families benefit from more time in engaging and rich learning activities. We joined with the National Summer Learning Association for a webinar to talk about how these twin goals can build off each other to help more children learn to read well by the end of third grade.

Just as we need to ensure that these students get the benefit of every school day possible, we need to make sure they have more time to keep learning through the summer. To succeed, we must start by ensuring that parents are informed, engaged, and supported.

How good attendance can improve summer learning

Research backs up the common sense notion that summer learning programs are more effective when students actually show up to learn. The 2011 RAND study Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learningreports that “studies that examined the link between outcomes and attendance found that increased attendance improves outcomes.”

To ensure students and families take attendance seriously, summer programs can:

  • Communicate with parents so that they know about summer learning loss. Ask them to bring their child every day possible for the entire session if possible and to schedule vacations around the program’s duration. Help them develop a plan for daily attendance.
  • Keep track of attendance in a systematic way. Make a point of taking the roll every day so children know attendance counts.
  • Nurture a culture of attendance by recognizing students – and the caring adults who help them show up every day or overcome a hurdle to improve their attendance. Send message about the value of attendance through songs, activities and contests.
  • Create opportunities for students and families to get excited and engaged in learning so they recognize how showing up every day helps build new skills.

How summer learning can promote good attendance

Building good attendance habits in summer programs can reinforce the importance of attendance and help students and parents start the school year right. Summer programs can:

  • Talk to families about any challenges – such as health, transportation or housing – that keep children from getting to the summer program regularly. Suggest ideas or resources for overcoming these barriers before school starts.
  • Talk to students and parents about the value of attendance and encourage good routines and habits they can carry into the school year.
  • Help students get ready for the first day of school. Talk to children about what to expect in a new grade or, in some cases, a new school. Help them get excited about what they will learn.
  • Help parents get ready for the first day of school. Make sure they know when school starts and suggest that they schedule time to visit a new school and secure immunizations. Help parents understand what their children will be learning, starting as early as kindergarten, so they understand the consequences of missing class.

Here’s a handout!

Here’s the webinar recording!

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June 9th, 2015

Attendance Works to Partner with More Hopeful Futures

Our long-time partner, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, announced on Tuesday a new initiative aimed at increasing the number of children form low-income families who read proficiently by the end of third grade.  The More Hopeful Futures Initiative was unveiled at the Clinton Global Initiative: America conference and will formally launch in 2017.

Until then, the Campaign will “road test” the initiative will activities reaching at least 50,000 children with an enhanced package of screenings and supports designed to accelerate ongoing efforts to improve school readiness, school attendance and summer learning. Attendance Works will support local communities who are field testing ideas that can be used among the Campaign’s 167 communities.

More Hopeful Futures will have an explicit focus on parent and family success, the health determinants of early school success, reaching children living in public housing and using technology solutions. Among the anticipated approaches will be:

  • Increases in the number of low-income children receiving developmental, health, dental and vision screenings
  • Identification of hazards in the home that contribute to asthma
  • Greater access to summer learning supports and summer nutrition
  • A multi-media outreach effort to ensure that parents, caregivers, child care providers and early educators have ready access to the information, tools and supports they need to ensure early literacy and healthy development of the children in their care.

The road test period will emphasize:

  •  The expanded role of local funders reflecting the understanding that they are key to success, scale and sustainability, bringing not only dollars, but also local knowledge, leadership and voice. A dozen funders in six states (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa and New York) have pledged to invest $34.6 million
  • A group of 35  “Pacesetter” communities in those six states will provide real-time, real-world feedback so that those ideas and plans can be refined for a smoother rollout of the More Hopeful Futures Initiative itself.
  •  A group of highly regarded organizations as Program Partners, rather than looking at each program in isolation, and bringing them together in “places with plans” that have hospitable environments create the opportunity and impetus for aligning, linking and, where feasible, bundling their programs for greater impact.
  • Thought and practice leaders from a range of fields to facilitate timely access to expertise but, even more important, will encourage dialogue and deliberation that may help find antidotes to the barriers posed by disciplinary silos and fragmentation.

Since it began in 2010, the Campaign has grown to include 167 communities in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than 2,100 civic and community-based organizations, public libraries, public housing agencies and higher-education institutions have joined the local sponsoring coalitions. At last count, these local efforts were being supported by over 200 family and community foundations, individual donors, corporate giving programs and United Ways.

“We see this recognition by CGI America as an affirmation of the great work already underway in these local communities. The plans and aspirations embodied in today’s commitment build upon what these communities already have accomplished and anticipate the important work they will continue to do,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “Our work going forward, including More Hopeful Futures, draws heavily on the experience, lessons and insights of the civic leaders and public officials who have mobilized their communities and the state and local funders who have supported the work.”



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