From: Attendance Works <> on behalf of Attendance Works <>

Sent: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 10:04 AM

To: Johnny Schaefer

Subject: Attendance Works Newsletter





A Note from the Director



With the holiday season here, we'd like to thank everyone who made 2013 such a special year. We're grateful for the 39 national partners who helped us launch the first-ever Attendance Awareness Month in September and to the 260+ schools and communities that posted their activities on our map.


We're grateful to the 1,300 schools and communities who signed on to our listserv, hundreds of whom participated in our webinars. We're grateful to the 93,000 people who visited our website in 2013, more than double the visitors from a year earlier. Finally, we're grateful to the countless parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, mayors and community partners who worked this year to ensure more children attended school every day.


We've learned a lot this year about how to move this important work. A rally point, such as Attendance Awareness Month, can be a powerful motivator. Technology, particularly our online data tools and handouts, can expand our reach exponentially. Common messaging can unify our efforts across city and state lines. And achievable action -- crunching data, setting up attendance teams and engaging the full community -- can translate into success for schools and students.


Please help us reach more districts, states and communities by making a tax-deductible contribution to Attendance Works. To donate, click here.


Hedy Chang


Practice Spotlight



New York Study Reinforces What Works 



Providing mentors to chronically absent students proved the most effective intervention for turning around attendance and achievement, a new study on New York City schools showed.


Meeting the Challenge of Combating Chronic Absence, produced by Johns Hopkins University researchers Robert Balfanz and Vaughan Byrnes, explores a rich vein of data generated from a three-year pilot program conducted by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's task force on truancy, chronic absence and school engagement.


Each participating school had a Success Mentors program, in which students who missed too much school in the previous year or were on track for chronic absence were paired with mentors. The report shows that students with Success Mentors gained nearly two extra weeks of school. Students made progress with all types of mentors: outside social workers, National Service members, school staff or older students.


Once the students emerged from chronic absence, they saw their grade point averages improve slightly and were less likely to drop out, the study showed. 


Planning Begins for Attendance Awareness Month 2014



It's still nine months until September, but we have already started planning for next year's Attendance Awareness Month. We are looking for new attendance champions. Assuming we can secure the funding, we plan to develop toolkits to reach targeted groups of stakeholders such as teachers, health care providers, faith-based groups, elected officials and business leaders. We are also exploring ideas for contests and other means of drawing attention to attendance.


If you would like to share successful approaches or good ideas for our national efforts, please write to us at




Policy Spotlight



New State Aid Formula Opens Door to Tracking Chronic Absence



A new state education funding formula creates an unprecedented opportunity for California school districts and communities to begin addressing chronic absenteeism. But many districts aren't sure where to start. Accountable for Attendance, a new brief produced jointly by Attendance Works and Children Now, lays out the best strategies for improving attendance.


The brief explores how the new Local Control Funding Formula vests localities with more power but requires a certain level of accountability. Chronic absence is among the metrics that local school districts and county boards of education must track. The brief recommends such strategies as:  gathering data, determining why students are chronically absent, building capacity among school staff, engaging the whole community and setting targets.



Research Spotlight



Study Shows Afterschool's Effect on School Attendance


More than two thirds of the chronically absent students who started attending an out-of-school time program (OST) regularly improved their school-day attendance, according to a report by the Baltimore Education Research Consortium. The report, "Family League 2011-12 Out of School Time Programs in Baltimore City," also found:  

  • Children who participated regularly in afterschool and summer programs were significantly less likely to be chronically absent than comparable peers.
  • Sixth- and ninth-graders who regularly attended an OST program during the 2011-12 school year had higher attendance rate through the first three quarters of the 2012-13 school year - a key finding as these students transitioned into the middle grades and high school.

BERC's report reaffirms research that connects quality afterschool with better school-day attendance. And it demonstrates the efficacy of Baltimore's decision to make reducing chronic absence an explicit goal and metric for programs that receive city funding. See our  What Works section for more detail.

About Attendance Works



Attendance Works is a national and state initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success. It aims to ensure that every school in every state not only tracks chronic absence data for its individual students but also partners with families and community agencies to help those children. 


Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Pinterest and like our Facebook page!



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Holiday Messaging Toolkit


Attendance Works has developed a Holiday Messaging Toolkit that includes talking points, sample emails to parents and incentive ideas for school leaders to use to encourage good attendance around the holidays.


To view our toolkit in both, English and Spanish, click here



In the News



2 Seattle Middle Schools Focus on Attendance, See Scores Climb, Seattle Times, November 20, 2103


Florida Public Schools Absentee Problem Examined with Interactive Map, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, November 1, 2013


The Most Important Education Reform: Reducing Absenteeism, Governing, November 4, 2013


Communities Should Work Together to Keep Kids in Class, Deseret News, November 29, 2013




Do you love our online tools, resources, webinars and up-to-date information on attendance research and news? Donate to Attendance Works! 

Your gift is tax deductible and will support forging a national consensus on the need to monitor, report and address the effects of chronic absence. I hope that you will stand with as and support our work as we work to reduce chronic absence and achieve better outcomes for all students. 


Contact Us




For more information contact:



Attendance Works would like to express its deep appreciation to the foundations supporting our work nationally and in communities across the country: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The California Endowment, The San Francisco Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, William Caspar
Graustein Memorial Fund and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.


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