As More Cities Take on Chronic Absence, New Data Tools Make Calculations Easier
When about 160 cities, counties and towns signed up in October to be part of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading network, they committed to look at the role chronic absence plays in keeping children from learning to read well by the end of third grade.
A grandmother told the volunteer who knocked on her door that she had just received custody of her grandchildren but didn’t know how to register them for school. A mother recounted how her child had only one school uniform, and it was hard to make sure it was clean every day.
In both cases, the children had become chronically absent from the Baltimore City Public Schools. But rather than a stern warning from an attendance officer, the families received a visit from a volunteer working with a local church or nonprofit group. “We like to use a feather, not a hammer,” says program coordinator Heidi Stevens.
The School Every Day! initiative is one of several efforts we highlighted in our November webinar on how to use volunteers and national service organizations as an extra shift of adults who can help improve attendance.
Education Waivers, Federal Legislation Offer Policy Opportunities
Issue 7, December 2011