Attendance Works News

May 24th, 2016

Join us for Attendance Awareness Campaign 2016!

AAM_2016_Badge-02Planning for Attendance Awareness Month in September is underway. Our Count Us In! toolkit 4.0, now completely on-line, includes guidance on how to create your own contest or event, free webinars, tips for reaching out to the media and social media tools to spread the word.

The speakers on our August 16 webinar will show how communities across the country are broadening the circle of partners to include groups that can address barriers that keep children from attending school. Watch for the registration date! Mark your calendar for our next free webinars on September 8, and November 1.

Visit the Attendance Awareness Month website

Find resources in the Count Us In! Toolkit

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Over 1,500 individuals registered for our first webinar, Motivating Attendance All Year Long, and 685 participants viewed, asking questions and getting answers. Our May 17 webinar, Using Data to Drive Action: Portraits of Chronic Absence, highlighted efforts of innovators in 3 states who have used chronic absence data to drive interventions.

Why focus on September for Attendance Awareness Month? At the start of the school year schools and communities lay out expectations for the coming year, which is a perfect time to begin to develop a culture of attendance. A clear message about the connection between good attendance and student achievement is easily incorporated into rallies, assemblies, back to school nights and stories in your local media. Don’t be shy about spreading the word!

Kids who miss too much school in pre-K and kindergarten are less likely to be reading in the third grade, making it much harder to learn in the years that follow. Studies show that 75% of students who are chronically absent in 6th grade will dropout of high school, and students who are chronically absent in high school are 7.4 times more likely to dropout.

Let’s do what we can to turn around chronic absence in our schools and help kids to be in school every day!

Missed our April 12 and May 17 webinars? View the recordings here.

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May 20th, 2016

VA’s Online Training Series: Leveraging the Power of Technology

Virginia’s Department of Education has created an online training series to address and eliminate chronic absenteeism in schools across the state.

“This training will assist schools and districts in looking at current practice and in looking at ways to improve future practice with the goal of addressing and eliminating chronic absenteeism,” said Jo Ann Burkholder, Director, Office of Student Services, VDOE. “Creating a culture of good attendance will help Virginia reach its ultimate goal – to boost each student’s achievement and success later in life.”

Each of the 12 modules includes a video and power point slides that provide, in a step-by-step progression, information to understand the importance of addressing chronic absenteeism and how a school or district can create a culture of good attendance and strategies to turn-around a chronic absence problem. The training, dubbed Attendance and Truancy Among Virginia Students, can be viewed individually or in a group, and each lesson includes a facilitator and participant guide for reflection on each session that can create a working document to address chronic absenteeism.

Attendance Works is proud to partner with VDOE on this training. Through its leadership on the critically important issue of reducing chronic absenteeism, VDOE has developed an innovative approach to help districts and schools build programs to address chronic absenteeism. It serves as an excellent example of how today’s technology can be used to build capacity around addressing chronic absenteeism. VDOE’s modules also can inform how states across the country approach providing much needed technical assistance on implementing strategies that address chronic absenteeism.

VDOE announced the training series in April at its two-day spring institute: Every Student, Every Day: Strategies to Address Attendance and Truancy. Including chronic absenteeism in the state’s accountability system is key to making sure schools meet the needs of families today, said Steven Staples, Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. “When I look at families today I see only about 4% that meet that ideal created by [the 1950s-60s television show] Leave It to Beaver,” Staples said during the spring institute. Schools have to change how they operate to support students and families in today’s reality, he added.

The modules start with an introduction by Joseph Wharff, School Counseling Specialist with VDOE. The topics in the modules are:

  • Module 1: Understanding Chronic Absenteeism
  • Module 2: Frameworks for Reducing Chronic Absence
  • Module 3: Establishing School Attendance Teams
  • Module 4: Using Data to Drive Action
  • Module 5: Messaging Attendance
  • Module 6: Integrating Attendance In Parent Engagement
  • Module 7: Leveraging Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • Module 8: Recognizing Good and Improved Attendance
  • Module 9: Providing Personalized Early Outreach
  • Module 10: Identifying Barriers
  • Module 11: Engaging Community Partners
  • Module 12: Creating Opportunities for Peer Learning

Click here to find the 12 part Module: Attendance & Truancy Among Virginia Students.

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May 20th, 2016

How to Build A Grad Nation

This week America’s Promise Alliance released 10 Facts About Low Graduation Rate High Schools. The facts are published on the heels of the 2016 Building a Grad Nation report. Both examine the characteristics of low-graduation-rate high schools, or schools that graduate fewer than 67 percent of their students. The new Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states intervene in schools with 67 percent or lower graduation rates, and use evidence-based plans to make improvements.

Written by the Everyone Graduates Center, with Civic Enterprises and released by America’s Promise and Alliance for Excellent Education, the 2016 Building a Grad Nation report shows that significant graduation gaps remain between White students and their Black and Latino peers, as well as between low-income and non-low-income students, and students with and without disabilities. Research has shown that it’s these same groups of kids, most often underserved in schools, that face high levels of chronic absenteeism, especially in the early grades.

We know that poor attendance as early as kindergarten can tip off educators to academic trouble ahead. Students who miss 2 days a month or more, on average in preschool and kindergarten often continue to miss school in the early grades and aren’t able to read by the 3rd grade. These same students struggle academically as they progress through school making it difficult to achieve.

“As Attendance Works has made clear, poor attendance is among our first and best warning signs that a student is headed off track for high school graduation,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance, which leads the GradNation campaign. “We can and must improve attendance and, with it, achievement and graduation rates by paying attention to who is missing too much school for any reason and connecting those students with supports and activities that will motivate them to attend class every day.”

The 10 facts include:

  • There were 2,397 low-graduation-rate high schools in the U.S. in 2014, enrolling a total of 1.23 million students.
  • In 2014, 33 percent of all non-graduates nationwide were enrolled in high schools with a graduation rate of 67 percent or less.
  • More than half (54 percent) of all low-graduation-rate high schools are in cities, one-quarter (26 percent) are in suburbs, 8 percent are in towns, and 12 percent are in rural areas.

Find all 10 Facts in the post by America’s Promise Alliance here .


Posted in Announcements, Featured Article, Secondary | Comments Off on How to Build A Grad Nation

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