Attendance Works News

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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February 27th, 2017

National Virtual Convening on Student Attendance + Webinars

As a continuation of the federal initiative to help students stay in school every day, the new National Student Attendance, Engagement, and Success Center (NSAESC) is offering an online summit on April 3rd and 4th to kick off the Center and its partnership with the US Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Schools. Registration is now open!

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    During the two-day National Virtual Convening, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Hear from national content experts on chronic absenteeism, early warning systems, and the Success Mentor strategy,
  • Ask questions and discuss the use of chronic absenteeism as an indicator to measure school quality or student success in ESSA plans, and
  • Participate in topic specific break-out sessions designed to provide customized responses to local context. Participants will have the chance to submit questions in advance.

The Center is hosting several webinars to share practices around early warning systems and for the 30 My Brother’s Keepers cities. Register here for the webinars.

  • March 8: Whole School and Group (Tier 1 and II) Interventions and Strategies to Address Behavior Listen to the webinar recording !
  • March 15: Early Warning Indicators and the Link to High School Graduation Rates
  • April 11: Conducting Effective ABC Data Review/Intervention Meetings
  • May 3: What is needed for effective data tools for EWS: Tracking data and interventions

The mission of the center is to enable safe and healthy students by disseminating evidence based practices and building and facilitating communities of practice to help students attend every day, be engaged in school, and succeed academically, so that they graduate high school prepared for college, career, and civic life.

For more information please reach out to

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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:

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